‘Swarms’ of earthquakes rattle McAdam, N.B. Earthquakes Canada has recorded 22 in New Brunswick over the last 30 days.
After a two-year hiatus, earthquakes have resumed shaking a New Brunswick village.
Earthquakes Canada has recorded 22 quakes on the western edge of the province near the border with the United States, most of them in an area that includes McAdam.
“It’s like a very loud bang and it wakes you up in the middle of the night,” said Ken Stannix, mayor of the village of about 1,150.
“It just sounds like you had a water heater in the basement explode. It’s quite a little jolt.”
The most recent quake was April 3.
In 2016, more than 100 earthquakes shook the McAdam area.
According to data from Natural Resources Canada, there have been 23 earthquakes in the province over the past 30 days. That includes 14 in the vicinity of McAdam between March 27 and April 3 that have ranged in magnitude from 0.2 to 2.6.
Similar groups of earthquakes have also occurred in Maine and Connecticut.
“The earthquakes are all very small and then they die off again,” Halchuk said.
Historically, earthquake activity in New Brunswick has been scattered across the province.
The last major earthquake, a magnitude 5, hit the Miramichi area in the 1980s, Halchuk said.
Others have hit south of the St. Stephen area, where there is an area of weakness in the Earth’s crust that generates quakes, he said.
“We’ve had about three, I think, that came in around 2.6 — so those ones you feel, and you hear,” McAdam Mayor Ken Stannix told CTV Atlantic.
More than half of the earthquakes, he added, have occurred in the middle of the night.
“So, you’d be sleeping in bed and all of a sudden, you’d hear this bang,” he explained. “And you’d sit right up and say, ‘There’s another one,’ and then you’d hear another little bang, bang as they kind of went away.”
Occurring at the relatively shallow depth of 600 meters, even the village’s smallest earthquakes have been hard to ignore.
“These earthquakes are very close to the surface,” retired seismologist Kenneth Burke told CTV Atlantic. “And that’s why people hear them besides feeling them.”
This is not the first time the community has trembled like this. Towards the beginning of 2016, McAdam experienced more than 100 small earthquakes, which shook homes and broke windows. Like the most recent swarm of tremors, no scientific explanation was ever found.
McAdam sits near the province’s western edge, close to its border with Maine. There are no well-defined fault lines in the area, which makes the earthquakes more puzzling to researchers.
“In terms of what is exactly triggering them, this is not understood still,” University of New Brunswick geology and engineering professor Karl Butler told CTV Atlantic.
A seismograph does operate from McAdam, sending tremor information on to scientists in Ottawa. Better equipment, Butler suggested, could help solve the mystery.
“In McAdam, we do have a permanent station there, but not a small array like we did previously,” Butler said. “So, they can’t locate the events as accurately.”
Figuring out what’s going on underneath McAdam would likely require significantly more research, Burke added.
“So far, no government and no research organization has seen fit to fund such an intensive research effort,” he said.
Mayor Frank Carroll estimates there were 20 to 30 small quakes on February 19, with many of them not picked up by monitoring equipment located about 95 kilometres away in St. George. One of them registered 3.3 in magnitude.
“Some people kind of describe it as a bomb going off,” said Carroll.
No injuries have been reported and damage has been minor.
McAdam Mayor Ken Stannix told CTV Atlantic, “This time around, it’s been much less severe,” he said. “We’re kind of used to them now. (But) in 2016, when they were happening here, in the village office we got a lot of calls from people who were concerned about what was going on.”
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