VICTORIA — A University of Victoria geologist has led the discovery of an active fault line under Greater Victoria.
A study published by Kristen Morell and her team says the Leech River fault, which was previously believed to be inactive, has caused at least two major earthquakes in the last 15,000 years.
The research the fault a potential hazard to the area, and information has been included a recent seismic vulnerability assessment commissioned by the City of Victoria.
The fault runs a few kilometres from downtown Victoria, under the Esquimalt Lagoon area and offshore from James Bay and Clover Point.
Researchers say the Leech River fault is unlike the Cascadia megathrust fault, which causes earthquakes every 300 to 500 years and is expected to trigger the "Big One" on B.C.'s south coast.
Instead, they say the Leech River fault can go thousands of years without seismic activity, making it harder to study.
"Now that we've identified that the Leech River fault is active, the next step is for us to nail down exactly when and how big the most recent earthquakes were," Morell said in a news release.
"When we understand the risks posed, there's a lot we can do to keep our communities safe."
The Canadian Press