ONC sensors monitor Alaska earthquake

Earthquake Early Warning Network at Ocean Networks Canada - Map of Sensor Locations. Photo: ONC.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 23, a magnitude-7.9 earthquake occurred off Alaska, generating a tsunami warning for coastal BC, and alerts and evacuations on Vancouver Island. As the tsunami wave moved over Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) sensors connected to its deep-sea offshore observatory, ONC staff surged into action interpreting real-time data, working with emergency planning and response authorities, and interacting with the public on social media. This open-access data helped show that the tsunami was relatively small—monitored by ONC sensors at three centimetres—due to a side-to-side-motion strike-slip earthquake, not a vertical-motion subduction zone earthquake. The tsunami warning was cancelled shortly after.

A wave of national media interest followed with ONC staff delivering interviews on tsunami science, technology, detection and modelling. ONC, a UVic initiative, monitors sea state 24/7 for severe marine conditions and tsunami activity, and is currently developing an earthquake early warning system for the BC government.

Learn more about earthquake early warning.


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Keywords: Ocean Networks Canada, earthquake

Publication: The Ring

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