The threat of the “big one” hitting Western Canada has been looming for years. Experts say a powerful magnitude 9.0 earthquake could rip through the Pacific Coast, killings thousands and causing tsunami waves up to 20 metres high.
The last destructive earthquake like this happened on Jan. 27, 1700, and experts say it is “inevitable” that another one will hit the coast.
The fault is a boundary between two tectonic plates: the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate and the North American plate (that we live on). The Juan de Fuca plate moves toward and eventually is shoved beneath the North American plate. But it’s become stuck for three centuries now, building up stress. When the rocks slip past each other along the fault, it will cause a “megathrust” earthquake.