A 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit Vancouver Island, British Columbia early Friday afternoon, rattling buildings but causing little serious damage, according to initial news reports. The quake lasted some 40 seconds and was located off the island's west coast, roughly 300 kilometers from downtown Vancouver, at a depth of around 25 kilometers. No tsunami warnings were issued. The quake likely originated in the subduction zone between the Juan de Fuca plate and the North American plate, the area most likely to produce a devastating 9-plus-magnitude earthquake in the Pacific northwest, the potential effects of which Bruce Barcott details in the October issue of Outside. Friday's quake "is nothing to sneeze at," said Brent Ward, a earth sciences professor at Simon Fraser University. "You think of the earthquake in Haiti and it was about the same but it was shallow."
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