by Brent Eades

A pair of earthquakes centered about 50 km to the northwest of Almonte shook homes and unnerved some local residents this morning.

A 5.2 magnitude quake north of Shawville at 9:43 a.m. was followed by a 4.1 aftershock. The tremors were felt as far away as Toronto, Sudbury, Montreal and Vermont.

The Ottawa Sun said that at its headquarters, “computers shook, floors rumbled underfoot, and coffee trembled in cups sitting on desks.”

The Ottawa Citizen reports that in Shawville, “Mayor Albert Armstrong said staff at City Hall were so rattled that he was left to answer phone calls Friday morning from concerned residents while city workers calmed their nerves outside.”

The US Geological Survey said the quakes occurred in the Western Quebec Seismic Zone, and noted that, “People in the zone have felt small earthquakes and suffered damage from larger ones for three centuries. The two largest damaging earthquakes occurred in 1935 (magnitude 6.1) at the northwestern end of the seismic zone, and in 1732 (magnitude 6.2) 450 km (280 mi) away at the southeastern end of the zone where it caused significant damage in Montreal. Earthquakes cause damage in the zone about once a decade. Smaller earthquakes are felt three or four times a year.”

No damage has been reported.

Quake epicenter. Source: Natural Resources Canada.
Quake epicenter. Source: Natural Resources Canada.