A 'minivibe' truck with a trail of sensors near the Giant Spruce park in Kitimat.

A 'minivibe' truck with a trail of sensors near the Giant Spruce park in Kitimat.

Seismic survey being undertaken in Kitimat

A survey will study how earthquakes could affect the Kitimat area.

A seismic survey of Kitimat is being undertaken which will explore the ground beneath us.

Trevor Allen, a seismologist for the Geological Survey of Canada, explained they’re using a truck called a “minivibe” which will transmit acoustic waves into the ground in an effort to interpret the type of sediments underneath the town.

“This is part of a much larger program to better assess the earthquake hazards in the B.C. north coast region,” he said.

Aside from the minivibe, a network of seismometers have been installed around the north coast region to monitor if there is small earthquake activity, which if so could indicate active faults in the region.

In Kitimat such a sensor has been installed at the Hirsch Creek Golf Course.

In a technical sense this new study in Kitimat will see how fast earthquake waves can travel through the ground.

With very similar valleys in the area, Kitimat is essentially the test subject to get a sense of the wider region around us.

“We now know that sites that are on soil, as opposed to rock sites, do tend to shake more in an earthquake and that is often a function of the shape…of the basin the sediments are sitting in,” said Allen. Studying Kitimat’s ground will map out the type of ground Kitimat sits on more clearly.

“We’re really trying to get a sense of what the shape of the bedrock below the Kitimat Valley is and how that might affect seismic waves travelling in to the soft surface sediments,”

The information gathered will be shared in reports and at conferences but the building code may be an eventual beneficiary of this.

“As part of this work we would like to see some of the results that we see from Kitimat then feed in to the national building code as well.”