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Sizable earthquake hit remote area of NWT on Wednesday

An earthquake struck the Northwest Territories in the vicinity of Norman Wells on Wednesday afternoon.

The epicenter was some 225 km south-west of Norman Wells, near the border between the Northwest Territories and Yukon. The quake hit at around 2:30pm.

Natural Resources Canada’s initial report says the quake had a magnitude of 4.5, which – while sizable – would not be expected to do any damage, nor be felt, given the remote area in which it struck.

Earthquakes in the Northwest Territories are, by Canadian standards, common – the territory’s Mackenzie Mountains are one of the most seismically active areas of Canada. Earthquakes of a similar magnitude strike the mountain range each year, with a 4.1-magnitude quake striking 90 km west of Fort McPherson last week.

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The last earthquake of larger magnitude in the territory, a 4.6-magnitude quake recorded near Deline, struck in August 2014.  A 5.3-magnitude quake hit the Mackenzies four years ago.

The Nahanni earthquakes of Christmas 1985, which reached a magnitude of 6.9, were among the more significant in the NWT or Canada over the past century.

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