Active fault line under Greater Victoria found in study led by UVic geologist


Research led by a geologist at the University of Victoria has found an active fault under Greater Victoria.

A study published by Kristen Morell and her team says they have discovered that the Leech River Fault, previously believed to be inactive has caused at least two major earthquakes since the last glaciation over 15,000 years ago. This makes the fault active and a potential hazard to the area.

The fault line runs a few kilometres from downtown Victoria, including the Esquimalt Lagoon area just offshore from James Bay and Clover Point.

“Now that we’ve identified that the Leech River fault is active, the next step is for us to nail down exactly when and how big the most recent earthquakes were,” says Morell in a release. “The information can then be used to help with hazard mitigation and emergency response planning. “When we understand the risks posed, there’s a lot we can do to keep our communities safe.”

Researchers say unlike the better known Cascadia megathrust fault, which is expected to cause the "Big One" earthquake is active ever 300-500 years; the Leach River Fault is a crustal fault shows no seismic activity for thousands of years which makes it hard to study.

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