Ryan Thoms – “The 1946 Vancouver Island Earthquake”

Ryan Thoms – “The 1946 Vancouver Island Earthquake”
by Andrew Bryant, 21 Oct 2021.

After many years with the BC Wildfire Service, Ryan Thoms now lives in Powell River and is manager of the qathet Regional District’s Regional Emergency Preparedness Service.

His topic was apt, for not many remember the Vancouver Island earthquake of 1946.  Fortunately the local damage was not severe.  Some chimneys were toppled, and the school was damaged.  But residents were fortunate.  The fact that it happened at 10:13 AM on a Sunday in June meant that most people were home.  Had it occurred on a weekday in January things might have been quite different.

Beginning with historical images and newspaper accounts, Ryan took our understanding of the event to a new level with application of modern geophysical methods.  There were a few surprises.  I was unaware, for example, that there was a freshwater tsunami on Powell Lake, and a substantial “debris flow avalanche” just off Grief Point.

History is indeed surprising…and please take warning…often repeats itself!