November 8, 2012 – Another “Rare” 6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Struck West of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Rare is in quotes because the last quake (5.7M) struck this region February 4, 2012. Today’s quake is south of that one, inching down the Juan de Fuca plate toward the USA West Coast.
The zone between two plates sliding horizontally past one another is called a transform-fault boundary, or simply a transform boundary (see below). These large faults connect two spreading centers. They commonly offset the active spreading ridges and produce zigzag plate margins. However, a few occur on land, for example the San Andreas Fault zone in California. This transform fault connects the East Pacific Rise, a divergent boundary to the south, with the South Gorda — Juan de Fuca — Explorer Ridge, another divergent boundary to the north.
Today’s 6.3 magnitude event struck at 6:01PM local time on November 7 (02:01AM on Nov. 8th GMT). It was centered 392 miles (244 miles) west of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
In the very south, we have a series of strike/slip and spreading zones in Baja California (the Sea of Cortez). This leads to the infamous San Andreas Fault that runs through California and off the coast, forming the Mendocino Fracture Zone.
Off the coast of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, Canada; we have a complex series of spread and strike/slip faults. The Explorer Ridge, Juan de Fuca Ridge and Blanco Fracture zone are part of this fault system. Very close to the coast is the Subduction Zone, where very powerful earthquake may occur. Today’s quake occurred along that subduction zone. This is important because all around the Pacific Ring of Fire, extremely large quakes hit, except along the subduction zone where today’s quake struck. This may portend a very powerful event to come. Any large quake on this subduction zone would provide practically no notice at all of a killer tsunami because it is so close to land. The death toll and damages from such an event would truly be biblical in scope.
This “nightmare” scenario includes a massive earthquake off the coast of Seattle, followed by a huge tsunami and the eruption of Mount Rainier. Seattle would be inundated by water from the west and lava from the east.
The Master of Disaster