Are High-rises In Vancouver Prepped For The ‘Big One’?

There has been talk for decades about a ‘big one’ hitting the West Coast, an earthquake that is likely to be one of the biggest in history. It has been called the earthquake that could potentially devastate the Pacific Northwest and in one way or another they’ve been prepping for it for years now.

Scientists have previously analyzed buildings around Metro Vancouver and examined how they might react in the event of a big earthquake in the area. They have suggested that these buildings will experience greater shaking that currently isn’t accounted for by the national seismic hazard model.

We might be under-predicting the shaking for those tall buildings, they suggested, and for that reason we could experience a much greater event

It is believed that some of those buildings in the region that had been built decades ago might not do too well if the shaking is more severe than they think will occur.


For this reason we see that they’ve been outfitting buildings around the Lower Mainland for years for this reason, making those necessary adjustments when possible. Regardless of those changes though, we still might see a great deal of devastation, with some maps showing more damage-prone areas than others if this quake ever does arrive.

Experts say there are still many areas that are in need of that retrofitting, like hospitals and schools, if they are to be ready for any such earthquake to hit the West Coast.

Some estimates say the odds are 1 in 3 that we will see a huge quake somewhere in the Northwest in the next 50 years, others say 1 in 10, nobody knows when exactly. How big might the earthquake be? There are experts who have stated we could see a 9.0 or greater.


There are early warning earthquake systems like ShakeAlert that have been developed to try and increase that potential of survival for people there, in giving people more notice before it hits. The threat of the big one hitting the West Coast is always there, lingering for those who live in the region.

All they can do is prepare and hope for the best.

Categories: bc, opinion, story, vancouver

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