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June 23, 2010

Earthquake hits Ottawa

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:
Some tweets we enjoyed:


  1. Anonymous2:18 PM

    My house in Kanata was shaking. Really scary.

  2. Anonymous2:19 PM


  3. Anonymous2:20 PM

    we are downtown montreal and is shook my computer screen

  4. Anonymous2:21 PM

    Same here at World Exchange Plaza downtown.

  5. Anonymous2:21 PM

    Our building downtown was shaking like crazy and the floor felt like it shifted downwards...scary stuff.

  6. Anonymous2:25 PM

    My home in Stittsville just west of kanata shook as well.

  7. Anonymous2:30 PM

    I was walking on Lyon and listening to music... Didn't feel a thing. Only realised something had happened when everyone evacuated office buildings.

  8. Anonymous2:32 PM

    we felt it all the way in Massena, NY.

  9. Anonymous2:33 PM

    I am in montreal at work and all of our computers were shaking .....scary.. I hope everyone in Ottawa is fine

  10. I'm in downtown Ottawa and my entire apartment building was shaking...I've never been so terrified. I didn't know what the heck was going on! I kept thinking...we don't have earthquakes here!

  11. Anonymous3:10 PM

    wake up call ppl!!! Ottawa is situated on a fault line. We will feel a big one eventually.

  12. Anonymous3:35 PM

    felt it a bit up in Sudbury too. Just felt like a transport truck driving by shaking the house a bit or one of the many mines around here blasting underground.

    Was interesting to find out it was an earth quake!

  13. Anonymous7:02 PM

    Hello Canada Welcome to my world of living in earthquake country. I live in Southern California USA. Live in this area for 56 years and been thru all the big ones in that time. The worst was Landers earthquake in California a 7.4 Now that rocking and still they scare me when they get over 5. Sometimes the afterstocks are the worst, because they come so offen and when they start you just don't know how big its going to be. I'll pray for you guys and just maybe you will be able to sleep tonite. Ken C.

  14. April7:39 PM

    There's a good video of the quake interrupting a City Council meeting here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKKAEkybanQ


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