As the Pacific Northwest region endures a heat wave, we can expect the melting of snow and glaciers to accelerate, which could cause hazards such as flooding.
But they could also trigger seismic activity. Studies are finding that melting glaciers are contributing to earthquakes—the earth sinks under the weight of glaciers forming but it springs back up when glaciers melt. Accordingly, the increased melting of glaciers caused by climate change may lead to an increase in the frequency and intensity of earthquakes.
While we regularly hear about earthquakes, an ice quake—which can have various causes such as accumulated stress from water freezing and expanding as ice—took place in the Alaska Panhandle, near the border of Alaska and Northern B.C.
This cryoseism, which is a non-tectonic seismic event, occured at 5:29 a.m. on June 28 and registered as 2.7-magntiude, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
At a depth of seven kilometres (four miles), it was located 41 kilometres (26 miles) east of Juneau, Alaska; 484 kilometres (301 miles) northwest of Prince Rupert, B.C.; and 520 kilometres (323 miles) northwest of Terrace, B.C.
Meanwhile, an undersea earthquake struck off the coast of Oregon this morning.
The U.S. Geological Survey measured it as a 4.0-magnitude temblor that hit at 10:03 a.m. today (June 29) at a depth of 13 kilometres (eight miles).
The epicentre was located 380 kilometres (235 miles) northwest of Bandon, Oregon; 388 kilometres (241 miles) west of Coos Bay, Oregon; and 485 kilometres (301 miles) southwest of Salem, Oregon.