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The Big One? New study says major quake could shake Olympic Peninsula

Fault line deeper than believed, could hit south of Vancouver Island, says SFU expert.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

It's a question that has been debated with fresh urgency since March, when a massive earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan: How big is the threat to Vancouver?

Canadian Press has the story on a new study looking at just that question.

VANCOUVER -- A new study says the next major earthquake to hit the Pacific Northwest could strike below Washington state's Olympic Peninsula, south of Vancouver Island.

Professor Andy Calvert of Simon Fraser University, the lead author of the study, says it shows the fault line between two tectonic plates in the Pacific Northwest is seven kilometres deeper than originally believed.

He says the fault line underneath Washington state is actually 27 to 42 kilometres, not 25 to 35 kilometres as previously believed.

Calvert and his team came to the conclusion by looking at how long it took seismic waves to spread throughout the Earth.

The findings were published recently in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Questions about the possibility of an earthquake on the West Coast have been on the rise since early March, when a magnitude-9 earthquake and a subsequent tsunami killed thousands of people in Japan and resulted in a tsunami alert along the B.C. coast.

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