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Earthquake shakes Durham

A rare occurrence as quake hits off the coast of Lake Ontario

By Aly Beach/The Oshawa Express

A 2.4 magnitude earthquake hit Ajax and surrounding area on the evening of May 8.

The quake shook at about 5:30 p.m., about 15 kilometers south of Ajax, in Lake Ontario. No injuries or damages have been reported. According to John Cassidy, earthquake seismologist at Earthquakes Canada, about 150 fault reports were logged from Oshawa, Ajax, Pickering and Whitby.

Earthquakes in this part of the country are rare, as Ontario sits in the middle of a continental plate. Once in a while, an earthquake will happen but most people will not notice it because of how deep the tremors are in the earth. This earthquake was estimated to be only about 10 kilometers below the surface, hence why it was felt, according to UOIT’s Dean of the Faculty of Science, Dr. Greg Crawford.

“You just don’t get big earthquakes in the middle of one of these continental plates  where we’re at, this is probably just one of those little cracks, a little bit of motion and really not much to worry about at all,” says Crawford.

Cassidy explains that while this earthquake was under Lake Ontario, many of the earthquakes felt in southern Ontario are typically from Quebec, or are caused by stress from the tectonic plates on the west coast.

“This was a reminder that earthquakes do happen in this region,” says Cassidy.

Cassidy says it’s important for residents to be prepared in case of an earthquake, even if they’re not common. However, he says the chances of there being another earthquake in Durham Region anytime soon are slim, saying that just because there was one earthquake, doesn’t mean there will be another.

“There’s probably not too much in terms of big earthquakes. Is it possible? Yeah, it’s always possible that something can happen,” says Crawford.