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May 17, 2013

Earthquake Rocks Ottawa and Toronto - May 17th, 2013

An earthquake rocked Ottawa and Toronto today at approx. 9:43 AM.

The shaking lasted approx. 20 to 30 seconds, starting with smaller shakes and then leading into larger quakes for a big finish.

The last earthquake of similar magnitude was in June 2010 and was a 5.0. (See Earthquake strikes Ontario, Quebec & New York )

Earthquake Canada has confirmed that a 4.8 magnitude earthquake originated in Braeside, Ont., in the Ottawa Valley at 9:43 AM Friday.

“It was obviously widely felt if it reached Toronto,” said seismologist John Adams. He will be able to provide more information shortly.

People are reporting feeling the earthquake as far away as Owen Sound, Kitchener-Waterloo, New York State, and Ohio.

The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting a 5.0 magnitude earthquake that originated 25 kilometres north-northeast of Shawville, Que. It was five kilometres deep, according to the USGS website ( http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/ )

Less than 10 minutes later, a 4.2-magnitude aftershock was also recorded. Not many people reported feeling the aftershock as it was more localized near Ottawa.

The minor earthquake “started in a pretty unpopulated area . . . we don’t expect there to be much damage,” said seismologist John Adams of Earthquake Canada.
Adams expects tens to hundreds of tremors to follow the earthquake, mostly felt close to the epicentre in the Quebec side of the Ottawa Valley. There is a 2 per cent chance that a larger earthquake will follow, he said.

According to some reports it was felt more strongly on the west side of Toronto than on the east side of Toronto.

"I am on the west side and I think it was stronger here than on the east!" says Edward de Gale, local Toronto charity worker who spoke to his brother minutes after the earthquake, who was in the east end of Toronto and barely felt it. "I hope everyone is okay," says Edward.

Live updates of this blog post ended at 11 AM EST.

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