2015 seismic hazard map Geological Survey of Canada

Understanding earthquakes

Some of the world's largest earthquakes have occurred here in BC.

Our best research shows that these catastrophic earthquakes will occur again and can happen at any time. In fact, our area is home to thousands of small earthquakes every year.

What causes earthquakes

The earth's crust is divided into large sections, called tectonic plates. Earthquakes occur as these plates slip past or underneath one another, releasing stress. This stress causes the ground above to move and shake in an earthquake.

These same geological processes also give us the mountains we enjoy here in BC.

Visit the Natural Resources Canada website  to find out more about earthquakes.

Earthquakes we can expect in Vancouver

Here in Vancouver, we are near the boundary (or fault line) of two of these plates, the North American Plate, on which we live, and the smaller Juan de Fuca Plate.

Graphic of the subduction zone, continental crust, ocean crust, Pacific plate, Jaun de Fuca Plate, and North American plate

Three main types of earthquakes that pose a risk to Vancouver: