Two earthquakes happened a few hours apart off the northwest tip of Vancouver Island overnight.

The most recent happened after midnight and had a magnitude of 4.3. Earlier, a quake measuring 4.0 hit the same area just after 10:30 last night (Jan. 13).

Both were located more than 150 kilometres west of Port Hardy at a depth of 10 kilometres, but they weren’t felt, and there were no reports of damage.

Natural Resources Canada earthquake seismologist John Cassidy says earthquakes in this offshore area are common, with active plate tectonics to blame.

That’s because the surface or crust of the earth is constantly moving, with large segments of this crust, called tectonic plates, continually shifting against each other, causing stress to build up.

“When the stress becomes too great, a sudden rupture or earthquake occurs along a zone of weakness called a fault, generating seismic waves,” Natural Resources states.

“Earthquakes occur most frequently where tectonic plates interact – such as the Cascadia Subduction Zone of southwestern British Columbia,” it adds.

On Sunday, Jan. 2, Canada’s first earthquake of 2022 with a magnitude over 4.0 was recorded off the island, west of Port Alice. No impact or damage was reported, according to Natural Resources Canada.