California is laughing at us and our 5.0 earthquake. Kind of the same way we laugh at Toronto when they call in the army after a snow storm. Today’s “moderate” earthquake gave most office workers in Ottawa the day off work, and gave Ottawans another topic for smalltalk other than the hot weather and Jason Spezza.
The quake hit Ottawa today at 1:41pm, with a magnitude of 5.0 at its center, about 53km north of the city (45.862°N, 75.457°W). It latest about 20-30 seconds. (The U.S. Geological Survey originally reported that the earthquake was a 5.7 or 5.5 magnitude quake, but later lowered it to 5.0 and changed its epicenter to near Lac-Echo in Quebec. For most of the afternoon the U.S. site was the only source for “official” measurements. Natural Resources Canada’s web site was unavailable for several hours, although they now have info online about the quake.)
Buildings in Ottawa were evacuated and there were a few reports of broken windows and minor building damage, but no serious injuries. Downtown patios were busy and traffic was heavy due to the power outages, but as far as we can tell there were no serious disruptions to life in Ottawa.
Some surrounding areas didn’t fare as well. In Gracefield, for example, a state of emergency is in effect. A church steeple fell and other buildins had serious damage. A section of Highway 307, which runs near the epicenter of the quake, had to be shut down due to road.
Throughout the afternoon we posted updates, links and comments about the quake to our @ottawastart Twitter feed. (We’re actually out of town on vacation this week, but happened to be online just after the quake and saw some initial comments on Facebook and Twitter.) Here are some of the links & notes that we posted:
- Municipal employees in Val-des-Bois reported aftershocks “every 5 minutes” after the quake for the next 50 minutes (via @ottawacitizen)
- The biggest earthquakes in the Ottawa area include a 6.1 quake in 1935 and 6.2 in 1732.
- Natural Resources Canada wants you to fill out a questionnaire about the quake.
- Ottawa Citizen: Earthquake Coverage
- Ottawa Sun: Earthquake news & photo gallery
- Globe & Mail: Earthquake shakes central Canada
- CBC: Earthquake rocks Ontario, Quebec
- Mayor Larry O’Brien statement re: earthquake
- Youtube: Fishtank during earthquake
- Video of NDP news conference interrupted by earthquake
- Video of Ottawa City Council / Alex Cullen during earthquake
- Video of the earthquake during an elementary school talent show (after 2:00 mark)
- Wikipedia: 2010 Central Canada Earthquake
- Photo: Downtown office evacuees
- Photo: Building damage in Gatineau
- Photo: Sign flipped upside down
Some tweets we enjoyed:
- RT @ALL_CAPS: Thanks to the earthquake, I can measure the Speed of News Twitter: 20 sec Radio: 20 min Television: 35 min Newspaper:Tomorrow
- RT @JanetBarclay That was a distinctly Canadian #earthquake. Quite mild, friendly and not in any way a threat.
- RT @airiusmedia: Ottawa Earthquake: All gov’t buildings evacuated – no productivity lost
- RT @philippec: Quebec is finally separating!
- RT @AndrewFstewart: The earthquake triggered a tsunami in the #G20 fake lake.
- RT @stuntmanstu: I’m glad my vasectomy was a few weeks ago and not today at 1:40…
- RT @JodyLavoie: Its like a fancy Canada day on Elgin. Everyones hanging out on the sidewalk in suits. Someone send beer!
- 7 funniest (Toronto) earthquake tweets
- Earthquake Tweet Map