- © 2015 by the Seismological Society of America
Online Material: Tables of abridged data from “Did You Feel It?” reports.
The sparsely populated region of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) was struck on 27 October 2012 by a magnitude (Mw) 7.8 earthquake—the second largest earthquake in Canada’s written history. It was felt throughout British Columbia and into neighboring provinces, territories, and states, as far as 1600 km from the event’s rupture zone. Throughout Haida Gwaii, the shaking reportedly lasted 1.5–2 min, with about 30 s of especially strong shaking. Despite there being only light building damage and few, minor injuries, many of the inhabitants of Haida Gwaii found the earthquake and its numerous aftershocks to be a truly upsetting experience. Through public meetings and face‐to‐face interviews, the first author and other scientific presenters endeavored to mitigate the earthquakes’ psychosocial impacts. Myths and misconceptions regarding earthquakes and tsunamis had to be addressed diligently. Lessons learned might be applied to future significant geohazard events, and we provide a summary of those lessons here.
Haida Gwaii is an archipelago of roughly 150 islands, located off the coast of central British Columbia, Canada. Two dominant islands constitute the majority of Haida Gwaii’s landmass (Fig. 1); Graham Island in the north is separated from Moresby Island to the south by the narrow Skidegate Channel. Approximately 4800 people live on Haida Gwaii in the summer season, but it is estimated that fewer than 4500 were on the islands at the time of the earthquake. Six communities have been established on Haida Gwaii, with all but one of these situated on Graham Island. A relatively high proportion of inhabitants (roughly half) belong to First Nation communities, generally of the Haida Nation. The two main Haida communities are Skidegate, near the village of Queen Charlotte, and Massett, at the northern end of …