Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut January 09, 2017 - 8:30 am

No injuries reported as earthquakes rock Nunavut’s High Arctic

Seismic event centered near Resolute Bay measured at magnitude of 5.8; second quake Jan. 9

This map from Natural Resources Canada shows the approximate location of the Jan. 8 earthquake that hit the High Arctic. (EARTHQUAKES CANADA)
This map from Natural Resources Canada shows the approximate location of the Jan. 8 earthquake that hit the High Arctic. (EARTHQUAKES CANADA)
This map shows the location of earthquakes in the Eastern Arctic with a magnitude of 5.0 or greater. (EARTHQUAKES CANADA)
This map shows the location of earthquakes in the Eastern Arctic with a magnitude of 5.0 or greater. (EARTHQUAKES CANADA)

(Updated Jan. 9, 2:45 p.m.)

People in Grise Fiord, Resolute Bay and Arctic Bay felt the impact of a moderate earthquake that occurred at 5:47 p.m. central time Jan. 8, centred at a spot about 93 kilometres east-southeast of Resolute Bay.

Earthquakes Canada said the seismic event was of a magnitude of 5.8—or “moderate”— on the Richter scale, which is used to measure the severity of earthquakes. A 5.8 earthquake can cause damage to poorly constructed buildings.

The Earthquakes Canada agency, a unit within Natural Resources Canada, later revised its 5.9 magnitude estimate to 5.8.

On Jan. 9, a second earthquake was reported to have hit the same region at about noon central time, Natural Resources Canada’s website noted. This time around, the magnitude was slightly less, at 5.1 on the Richter scale.

Following the Jan. 8 earthquake, community reports say the earthquake’s shock waves were were also felt in Grise Fiord, Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay.

There have been no reports of injuries, although Facebook postings said houses moved and that a window had been broken.

And, if you felt the ground move, you can fill out a “felt report form” for Natural Resources Canada here.

According to data gathered by the Geological Survey of Canada, the northeast coast of Baffin Island and the High Arctic islands have a particularly high incidence of earthquakes.

In the polar regions, scientists have noted that earthquakes are on the rise, and that some of these may be associated with global warming.

That’s because the pressure of glaciers suppresses earthquakes, so when this ice melts, the pressure release can trigger earthquakes in a movement known as post-glacial rebound.

Over the past 80 years, about 2,000 earthquakes have been recorded in Nunavut.

Most are of these have been minor, falling below a magnitude of 4.0 on the Richter scale.

But on Nov. 20, 1933, a monster earthquake ripped through the sea-floor of Baffin Bay, not far offshore from Pond Inlet. Seismologists believe its magnitude measured 7.3 on the Richter scale. A quake that powerful can hurl people to the ground, shake buildings apart, set off landslides and trigger giant tidal waves.

In 1989, on Nunavik’s Ungava peninsula, an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude tore open the tundra and shook up surrounding communities. The earthquake shattered stone, partially drained one lake, and created a new lake where none had existed before.

You can see if the ground is moving in Nunavut, by checking out a link on the Natural Resources Canada website.




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(12) Comments:

#1. Posted by qavvigarjjuk on January 09, 2017

Wow why are there no special building codes for earth quaques like BC coast for NE ,  N Baffin and High Arctic Islands? Do we even have a tsunami warning system up there? That is fjord country and water would funnel through there. Why are there no emergency community plans for this? Many homes are built right on the beach…

#2. Posted by Captain Canada on January 09, 2017

#1 this is Nunavut, we are simply just trying to survive up here, this talk about infrastructure, what we need up here and not just the basics will never happen the way it has been going since Canada’s been a country.
The north is a waste of time for the rest of Canada that lives on the boarder of US, plain and simple, once and a while there are talks of how proud Canada is but it is just hot air.

#3. Posted by My goodness on January 09, 2017

The sky is falling, the sky is falling, there are earth quakes daily around the world. You get one little shake and you feel there will be total devastation. Get a grip for Heavans sake and by the way there is earth quake design in the North to match the level of risk in the area. Besides getting a grip, get a book and read, you may learn something.

#4. Posted by Bob E on January 09, 2017 NBC of Canada is the current building code for Nunavut and does cover seismic design requirements but the communities do not provide inspections or enforcement. How many tsunamis has Nunavut had in the last 100 years? 1000 years? 5000 years?

#5. Posted by RUDE on January 09, 2017

To #3 - My goodness:

Don’t be SO condescending!!!! People are afraid and shaken because earthquakes are in the “unknown” for some people. I was alarmed and concerned about this, and I am pursuing my degree in nursing - just because people don’t know about these things does not make them dumb, as you implied with your “besides getting a grip, get a book and read, you may learn something”.

Rather than being so judgemental and condescending - help people to learn by providing some resources.

#6. Posted by Kenn Harper on January 09, 2017

There has been at least one recorded tidal wave in what is now Nunavut. It was at Blacklead Island, in Cumberland Sound, near Pangnirtung.

Reverend Peck (whom the Inuit called Uqammak) wrote this about it: “On October 20, 1903, a tidal wave swept down upon the island; it actually came close to our house, and some of the Eskimo were driven out of their dwellings by the sea and ice.”

This was published in an article called “Actual Experiences for Christ…”  on page 87 of the September 1904 issue of a church newsletter, Moosonee Mailbag, published in England.

#7. Posted by Northern on January 09, 2017

#2 We Inuit live in arctics, that way the federal government and Canada will be larger country the way they see fit, you see inukjuamiut were relocated because Canada couldn’t afford to lose high arctic and big land. They should now reconsider building infrastructures all over arctic. And hey, we are taxpayers too and too bad we are minority’s.

#8. Posted by Keith on January 10, 2017

Why are people still using the term “tidal wave”? It’s a tsunami. Surely by now people know what it means, and if you didn’t, now you do.

#9. Posted by Kenn Harper on January 10, 2017

To #8, Teachnically you’re right. But in popular parlance, they are the same.
“Tsunami waves do not resemble normal undersea currents or sea waves, because their wavelength is far longer.[5] Rather than appearing as a breaking wave, a tsunami may instead initially resemble a rapidly rising tide, and for this reason they are often referred to as tidal waves, although this usage is not favoured by the scientific community because tsunamis are not tidal in nature.” Wikipedia.

#10. Posted by Captain Canada on January 10, 2017

yes #7 but traditionally the high arctic was the hunting ground of the Inuit in Qaanaaq area.
They were using the area for hunting and camping before the RCMP went there, Canada used the people from Inukjuak as pawns to claim that area for Canada.
I am not sure why they did this, Canada has not invested very much in the area.

#11. Posted by Qavvigarjul on January 11, 2017

The high arctic is in a red seizmic zone just like vancouver.

#12. Posted by jim winters on January 21, 2017

I read with interest; thank you. News from a great part of the world.

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