Sizable earthquake hit remote area of NWT on Wednesday

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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.

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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