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Update: Prince George hit by 3.4 magnitude earthquake

Earthquakes Canada is reporting a 3.4 magnitude earthquake, 32 km southwest of Prince George.

Prince George was shaken by an earthquake at 3:07 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.

Earthquakes Canada is reporting a 3.4 magnitude earthquake occurred 32 kilometres southwest of Prince George, at a depth of five kilometres. A map, produced by Earthquakes Canada, shows the quake happened in the area of Baldy Hughes.

Under the Richter Scale, a 3.4 magnitude quake is classed as a minor earthquake - one which is often felt by people, but rarely causes any damage.

Livestreamed data from an Earthquakes Canada seismic monitoring station in Fort St. James showed activity about the same time as residents from the across the city reported feeling the ground shake. The Fort St. James monitoring station is the closest station to Prince George which reports live data on Earthquakes Canada's website.

Several earthquakes have been reported across northern B.C. over the past two days.

A 3.2 magnitude quake was reported 130 km northwest of Fort St. John at 2:53 a.m and a 1.9 magnitude quake was reported 53 km west of Queen Charlotte Village at 1:39 a.m. on Wednesday.

Ten other small earthquakes, ranging in magnitude from 1.4 to 2.5, have been reported near Fort St. John, Queen Charlotte Village. Masset and Bella Bella since Tuesday.

Earthquake seismologist Taimi Mulder, with Natural Resources Canada, said the quakes being felt across northern B.C. are linked to the interaction of oceanic tectonic plates, including the Juan de Fuca and Pacific Plates, as they are driven under the Northern American Plate. The collision is essentially "crumpling the edge of North America," she explained.

"It's unusual for today, but not unusual in the bigger picture," Mulder said. "Most are quite small, and people never feel them."

Every 10 to 20 years there tends to be a somewhat larger earthquake in the Prince George area, she added. The last bigger quake in Prince George was a 5.4 magnitude quake in 1986, she said.

Wednesday's earthquake was fairly shallow, at five kilometres below the surface, and fairly close to the city, Mulder said, which may explain why the shaking was noticed by so many people.

"It was reported by quite a few people in Prince George," she said.

Earthquakes Canada is asking Prince George-area residents who felt the earthquake to fill out an online survey, to provide them with additional information.

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