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Days after explosion, some Hay River residents are shaken again


Some Hay River residents say they felt a gentle shaking of their homes on Tuesday that coincided with reports of earthquakes in northern Alberta.

The unusual sensation came just three days after an explosion at a property on Beaver Crescent sent a shockwave throughout the town, damaging multiple homes and injuring two people.

This time, earthquakes east of Peace River appear to be to blame.

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Data regarding those earthquakes is preliminary and could yet be revised. At the moment, Earthquakes Canada – the federal database of recorded quakes – reports a magnitude 5.2 earthquake at 4:45pm followed by a magnitude 5.8 quake at 5.55pm.

Their locations were virtually identical: around 20 km northeast of the hamlet of Reno, AB.

The US Geological Survey gave smaller preliminary magnitudes of 4.9 and 5.3 for the same quakes, and reported a third quake of magnitude 4.6 in between the two.

Several smaller quakes were reported in the same area last week.

The largest earthquake on record in Alberta reached a magnitude of 5.4 in 2001. If a magnitude of 5.8 is confirmed for Tuesday’s quake east of Peace River, it’ll set a provincial record – but preliminary data for these events often changes when measurements are refined and final reports later issued.

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In Hay River, hundreds of kilometres to the north, residents with Saturday’s explosion fresh in their minds were immediately back on alert.

“Our house was just shaking again,” Doris Minoza wrote on Facebook. “What Jumanji level is next?”

Residents in Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray and Edmonton all reported a similar experience.

“We have received no reports of damage at this time,” Earthquakes Canada reported.

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The agency recorded the 5:55pm quake as follows: “Strongly felt close to Reno. Lightly felt in eastern British Columbia and western Alberta. There have been a number of felt aftershocks in the same area.”

The cause of Saturday’s explosion, meanwhile, remains under investigation.

A spokesperson for the office of the NWT’s fire marshal said on Tuesday there was no update and no timeline for that investigation to be completed.