Big shakeup was big wakeup

There’s nothing like an earthquake to shake us, at least briefly, out of complacency.
Everybody from the Fraser Valley to Cape Scott was talking about the 6.4-magnitude quake Friday south of Port Alice because so many of us felt or witnessed its effects.

There’s nothing like an earthquake to shake us, at least briefly, out of complacency.Everybody from the Fraser Valley to Cape Scott was talking about the 6.4-magnitude quake Friday south of Port Alice because so many of us felt or witnessed its effects.From swaying chandeliers to slight shaking, countless thousands got just a tiny taste of the immense force that builds under what is usually solid ground.Vancouver Island, which drifted in from the Pacific Ocean ages ago when things were still quite molten, continues to creep toward the coast of the B.C. mainland.The Juan de Fuca Plate on which we sit is the smallest of Earth’s tectonic plates. subducting, or sliding underneath, the North American Plate.The force that builds when the two plates have been stuck for some time is released in an earthquake when the plates move suddenly.It’s not comforting to know that what we think is rock-solid Vancouver Island rests on a plate that is on top of what is called the mantle, which in turn floats on an underground ocean of molten, superheated rock called magma.Another disquieting thought involves the most powerful quake ever recorded on Canadian soil, which happened just west of Courtenay in 1946.We can’t do anything to control or even accurately predict when the next quake will happen, but there are things we can do to be prepared when it does.The Provincial Emergency Program website www.pep.bc.ca has a wealth of helpful information.PEP’s three major quake-readiness objectives are for you to:• Be prepared to avoid injury;• Be prepared to minimize damage to your home;• Be prepared to survive afterwards for at least 72 hours without help.While it’s tricky to educate your children without scaring them, PEP recommends developing a post-quake plan and discussing it with your family.It’s easy to think it won’t happen to us, but that’s what people in the Comox Valley thought before 1946.editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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