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Rockies Earthquake Confirmed

A small earthquake has been confirmed near the mountain town of Banff, in the Bow Valley. The 2.7 magnitude earthquake was recorded roughly four kilometres southwest of the town site, about 20 kilometres west of Canmore.

Natural Resources Canada says it happened today at 5:42 p.m. MT.

Banff rock climbing information

Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen says the small earthquake was felt by residents. She said many describe it as a “very large truck driving by your home.” Sorensen said the fire department and town manager looked into the situation immediately, but there is no damage, injuries or cause for concern. She said some people living in Harvie Heights in the nearby town of Canmore also felt the quake.

More on Banff climbing

A seismologist with Natural Resources Canada is expected to provide more information about the small quake later this evening.

Many of Canada’s climbers are based in the Bow Valley. The area provides world-class ice, alpine and sport climbing. The rock around Banff is typically loose limestone. The area is nicknamed the “chossies.” The geology tends to be quite fractured, with many loose blocks on ledges. Large portions of rock faces are susceptible to breaking apart.

A number of popular rock climbs travel over rock that could fall off. Climbers in the area often say, “All it would take is an earthquake and all these routes would fall down.”

Banff with Mount Rundle above
Banff with Mount Rundle above

Source: CBC, Banff National Park