Haines Junction shaken by magnitude 3.6 earthquake

·2 min read

Residents of Haines Junction, Yukon, were shaken by a magnitude 3.6 earthquake Saturday morning.

The quake hit 14 kilometres west of Haines Junction, at a depth of five kilometres, and happened shortly before 8 a.m., according to the United States Geological Survey's Alaska Earthquake Centre.

Chuck Hume was laying in bed watching TV at his home in Canyon Creek, about 30 kilometres east of Haines Junction, when he heard a crash.

"I didn't know exactly what happened because the building just kind of shuddered. I heard a few creaks and groans and snow slid off the roof," said the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations elder.

"Just boom, you know, crash. There was a little bit of a shaking, you know, but nothing serious."

Hume quickly realized it was an earthquake.

George Maratos/CBC
George Maratos/CBC

Nothing fell off Hume's shelves and he didn't feel aftershocks.

But he believes his dogs might have.

"I guess our dogs do feel something, you know, because shortly after, a couple of times, they're running around the room, you know, growling and barking," he said. "They have a sense more than we do."

Hume said he wasn't nervous about this "shaker" and has felt quite a few earthquakes in the area over the years.

Still, there's always concern the next one will be "the big one," he said.

'Not very strong'

Saturday's earthquake was "relatively small," but about 17 residents of Haines Junction reported it to the United States Geological Survey, according to Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the agency.

Caruso said earthquakes of this magnitude are common globally and are "not very strong."

He isn't expecting any property damage as a result of the quake.

"People would probably feel a little bit of shaking, see their chandelier swinging back and forth," he said.

But as Haines Junction residents know well, tremors are common in the region.

"This is part of the whole Pacific Plate subducting underneath Alaska and the Aleutian Islands chain, and so that's why we have a lot of quakes up in that area," said Caruso.

Over the past 10 years, nearly 1,000 earthquakes have occurred within 250 kilometres of Saturday's epicentre.

Caruso said the largest was a magnitude 5.3 on June 4, 2014.