BONNYVILLE – In the afternoon of Jan. 12, several residents reported feeling a low rumble and the ground shake. These reports made their way to Dr. John Cassidy, a senior researcher with Natural Resources Canada and an earthquake seismologist, who is based in British Columbia.
Although Cassidy cannot rule out that an earthquake occurred with 100 per cent certainty, he says it is very unlikely.
“There were no obvious marks of an earthquake on our readings, but I can’t rule it out with definite certainty,” he told Lakeland Today.
Cassidy says the most likely cause for the loud bang and shaking windows experienced by Bonnyville and area residents is potentially a low flying aircraft or a bolide (meteor). Both of which can create similar effects to a small earthquake.
With first-hand reports spanning over a wide area said to have experienced the shake, the Edmonton station should have picked something up, but no readings showed any corresponding activity, Cassidy confirmed.
The closest radar station measuring seismic activity is based in Edmonton.
There was, however a 3.9 magnitude earthquake near Fort St. John, B.C. that occurred mid-afternoon on Jan. 12.
But again, Cassidy explains this would not have been felt in the Bonnyville area, as the stations and areas in between did not experience the earthquake’s effects or aftershocks. Nor is Bonnyville on a fault line.