November 2019

Dinner Presentation: Living on the Edge

The Risk of a Damaging Earthquake on BC’s South Coast

Status: Online registration is now closed. For space availability please contact [email protected] Thank you.
Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Time: 6:00 PM–6:30 PM: Registration and networking
6:30 PM–7:00 PM: Dinner
7:00 PM–8:30 PM: Presentation followed by Q&A
Location: Richmond Cultural Centre - 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond, BC
(Right next to the the Richmond Public Library - Main Branch)
Presenter: Dr. John J. Clague, P.Geo., FGC, FEC (Hon.)
Credit: 1.5 Informal Professional Development Hours (PDH)
Cost: $25 + GST
Student Members: $12.50 + GST
Dinner will be provided
Contact: For questions about this event, please contact the organizer at [email protected].
If you wish to sponsor this event, please email [email protected] with the subject, "Branch Sponsorship".
Note: To help us predict our catering needs, please register by Monday November 18, 2019.
Presented by Professor John Clague, this captivating presentation discusses the likely effects on Metro Vancouver of very rare, plate-boundary earthquakes and more common, magnitude 6-7 earthquakes.

Geoscientists working on the west coast of North America from northern California to southwestern British Columbia have demonstrated that giant (magnitude-9) earthquakes occur along the Cascadia subduction zone, where the oceanic Juan de Fuca plate moves down beneath the edge of North America. The geologic evidence includes sudden land-level change, tsunami deposits, and sediments generated by liquefaction, and submarine landslide deposits (‘turbidites’) on the Pacific Ocean floor.

The turbidite record spans the past 10,000 years and provides evidence for 20 giant earthquakes with an average return period of 500 years. The most recent of these earthquakes happened in January 1700. Satellite global positioning data extending back to the mid-1990s shows a pattern of land-surface deformation consistent with locking of the fault separating the Juan de Fuca and North America plates, marking the build-up to the next giant earthquake. Although the next of these earthquakes will damage all cities from Portland to Vancouver, the risk profile of far more frequent, magnitude 6 and 7 crustal earthquakes is greater than that of much larger, but rarer plate-boundary events.

This presentation will discuss the likely effects on Metro Vancouver of very rare, plate-boundary earthquakes and more common, magnitude 6–7 earthquakes. The assessment is based on recent research that has identified active faults in the Pacific Northwest and the damage caused by similar earthquakes, notably those in Sumatra in 2004, Japan in 2011, and Christchurch in 2011. John will also discuss strategies for reducing both the primary and secondary damage of future earthquakes.

About the Presenter

John Clague is Emeritus Professor at Simon Fraser University. He was educated at Occidental College (BA), the University of California Berkeley (MA), and the University of British Columbia (PhD). Clague worked as a Research Scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada from 1975 until 1998. In 1998 he accepted a faculty position in Department of Earth Sciences at Simon Fraser University. He is currently Director of the Centre for Natural Hazard Research at SFU. Clague is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, former President of the Geological Association of Canada, and Past-President of the International Union for Quaternary Research and Engineers and Geoscientists BC. He is recipient of the Geological Society of America Burwell Award, the Royal Society of Canada Bancroft Award, Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Innovation Editorial Board Award, the Geological Association of Canada’s (GAC) E.R.W Neale Medal, and GAC’s Logan Medal and Ambrose Medal. He was the 2007–2008 Richard Jahns Distinguished Lecturer for the Geological Society of America and Association of Environmental and Engineering Geology and received an Honorary PhD from the University of Waterloo in 2017.


  • Due to space limitations, registrations will be limited to 100 people maximum.
  • Guest/Non-member Registration: If you are not a member of Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia, you can register online by quickly creating a 'Non-member' account. After clicking on the 'Register' link, you will be brought to a login screen. Towards the bottom, there is a ‘Create new account’ link. Click this link and follow the prompts to create your account and then you will be able to register online with this new account. Thank you and we look forward to having you join us.
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