Vesta confirms fracking activity near site of Red Deer earthquake
Published Monday, March 4, 2019 7:15AM MST
Last Updated Monday, March 4, 2019 6:34PM MST
Earthquakes Canada has confirmed that a 4.6 magnitude earthquake was detected shortly before 6 a.m. in central Alberta.
According to the government agency, the seismic activity started around 5:56 a.m. in Sylvan Lake and Red Deer.
The quake was reported at about a kilometre below the surface.
This is the largest quake ever recorded in the area. In 1984, 1997 and 2001 there were 4.0 magnitude quakes recorded.
Natural vs. induced earthquakes in Alta.
Alberta Energy Regulator confirms there were fracking activities taking place in the area this morning, but they can’t confirm that the fracking caused the quake. The fracking has since been stopped.
Dr. David Eaton is a professor of geophysics at the University of Calgary.
“It’s unusual if it’s a natural event, they don’t happen here very often,” Dr. Eaton told CTV News. “In 2001 there was one north east of Dawson Creek in B.C. a little bit bigger than this.”
“Alberta is prone to getting earthquakes related to induced events from oil production or fluid injection and so it’s entirely possible this is an induced event, and there have been a number of those in the last five or six years.”
Residents in the area are reported feeling their houses shaking and power outages in the area.
“Just before six this morning, we were up and having our breakfast and there was a pop right as the power went off, and then the entire house shook,” Linda Borsato, a Sylvan Lake resident told CTV News.
“The first thing that my husband thought is that there was an explosion somewhere.”
Borsato said they looked out the window after the pop and couldn’t see lights on anywhere in Sylvan Lake.
Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre says he was at home when the quake struck.
“I thought maybe someone had hit the transformer on my block or something like that and that’s why the power went out, but as I looked out the window I noticed that the power was out in my neighbourhood and as far as I could see across town.”
“It wasn’t until I started hearing reports of an earthquake that I realized that’s what it was.”
McIntyre says power was restored to most residents in the area within two hours. He says he hasn’t had any reports of injuries or damages as a result of the quake.