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BREAKING NEWS

MSNBC News Services

updated 8:45 a.m. CT, Thurs., Aug. 28, 2008

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Canada's Vancouver Island early Thursday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey Web site.

There was no information on possible damage or injuries as a result of the quake, which hit the region at 5:37 a.m.

Please check back for details on this breaking story.

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(CNN) -- A magnitude 6.1 earthquake has rocked Vancouver Island, Canada, Thursday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The temblor's epicenter was located about 95 miles (153 kilometers) west-southwest of Port Hardy, British Columbia, and about 293 miles (472 kilometers) west-northwest of Vancouver, British Columbia.

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake is classified as "strong," the USGS Web site says, capable of causing considerable damage.

The quake was the latest of about two dozen temblors of magnitude 4 or above to strike in the area in the past 48 hours, according to the USGS. A 5.2-magnitude quake was the largest of those, striking the same area Wednesday.

Vancouver Island sits off Canada's west coast. Its main city of Victoria sits at its southern end.

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Hopefully nothing happens over the next two years....or rather, nothing ever happens.

Something WILL happen, it's not a matter of IF and hoping it won't. In fact there's a big chunk of the western part of what would now be the city that slid underwater during the last big quake a couple hundred years ago, and caused the legendary tsunami recorded in the late 1700's feudal Japan that wiped out more than 10 towns and villages (Tree rings of dead forests killed by flooding in the earthquake matched the date of the records in Japan). A lot of the first nations here have historic connections to the quake as the area that sunk was a whole native village and is storied about even today. A lot of the quake ignorance in Vancouver is that the city isn't prone to frequent low seismic activity that everybody is aware about as is the case in California, Japan, Indonesia, Alaska, and other areas on the ring of fire. What Vancouver and Vancouver Island is prone to is highly infrequent but very prolific seismic activity. With help of some Japanese and Californian agencies and engineers who have spent years in quake preparation studies the city is undergoing a lot of upgrades to protect electricity, waterways, sewage systems, and stuff like that from shutting down in the event of major seismic activity. They're also re-fitting bridges to withstand really huge earthquakes by means of triangular support mechanisms and multiple panels that act like expandable chains. Unfortunately work has been stalled by the province quite a bit but things are still slowly progressing. And there is quite a bit of hope even in the face of a 9.0 because a lot of the methods being used to upgrade the city have been proven to be highly effective in preventing human casualty.

I did a thesis on this subject quite a while ago. ;)

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Give me a break here. Nagano had a risk of having earthquakes during the 1998 Winter Olympics. Guess what? On the last day of those Games, there were news gossip or rumors that tried to confirm whether one did strike the area, after that big fireworks display at the closing ceremony.

Anyway, I would not worry about it. It is not like Vancouver city officials were that blind to the possibility of that kind of natural disaster. With that big one in Alaska in the 1960s and the on-and-off rumblings of it along the western coast of the States over the years, I agree with IceNarcissus that it will happen to the Vancouver area again. It is just the matter of when and not if.

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Give me a break here. Nagano had a risk of having earthquakes during the 1998 Winter Olympics. Guess what? On the last day of those Games, there were news gossip or rumors that tried to confirm whether one did strike the area, after that big fireworks display at the closing ceremony.

It's true that anything devastating happening during those weeks is unlikely, but you just never know. I'd like to see VANOC influence city operations and contribute to promoting earthquake safety awareness. I'm not sure if its been discussed already, but are any of the new venues being built with retrofitted earthquake safety measures?

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What measures has Vancouver taken to have additional generators ready to supply power to the city during 2010 in the event of a widespread power failure (which could be caused by something as simple as a flooded transformer room or a simple short) ?

They'll hook you and OrangeVest up as standby transformers!!

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What measures has Vancouver taken to have additional generators ready to supply power to the city during 2010 in the event of a widespread power failure (which could be caused by something as simple as a flooded transformer room or a simple short) ?

VANOC has contracted a power supply company specifically to supply backups in case of a situation like that. And it won't just be one backup. The backups will have backups, which will likely also have backups.

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VANOC has contracted a power supply company specifically to supply backups in case of a situation like that. And it won't just be one backup. The backups will have backups, which will likely also have backups.

That's correct.....and i read somewhere that they ordered a ton of generators for the convention centre, which is of course highly important during 2010.

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They don't need to order backup generators for the Convention Centre during the olympics. Both the new convention centre and the old one have base building generators with ample power to run the building on just one of the generators. They also store enough fuel to last 4 days of 24hr operations under full load.

They both also have their own heating source, on really cold days when the Central steam plant can't keep up with demand they place a call to Canada Place and they turn on their own broilers to remove some of the load on the system.

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2010 Olympics to have double backup power

Monday's blackout hasn't shaken Vanoc's confidence in BC Hydro's ability to deliver electricity during the Games, official says

Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun

Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Vancouver's Olympic organizers and BC Hydro say they are reviewing plans for backup power services for the 2010 Winter Games in light of the power failure that left a large swath of the downtown -- including a critical Olympic venue -- in the dark for at least a day and a half.

Saying they can ill afford to have another blackout of the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre, which will host the international broadcast centre and the main press centre, the Vancouver Organizing Committee said Tuesday it will take lessons learned from a post-incident report Hydro will do on Monday's power failure.

But both Vanoc and BC Hydro said it is unlikely the broadcast and press centres would be affected were a similar incident to happen in 2010, because by then the power company will have a secondary supply from a different substation.

Guy Lodge, Vanoc's vice-president of services and overlay, said the organizing committee has also arranged for a third level of emergency power from diesel generators to be supplied by Aggreko, an Olympic sponsor.

Lodge said Monday's blackout caught Vanoc by surprise, but he was confident BC Hydro will be able to supply the primary and backup power sources it has promised. He said Hydro has been advising Vanoc throughout the blackout and the two groups will learn from what happened.

"These things are always a learning curve. They happen, but better they happen now than closer to Games time," Lodge said.

In March, BC Hydro signed on to the 2010 Games as an "official supporter," promising no power failures during the Olympics. The deal, which will see the utility provide primary and secondary sources of power to most competition and non-competition venues, allowed Vanoc to avoid having to buy about $20 million in diesel backup generators.

However, Vanoc said it will still need about 100 diesel generators for remote areas and as a third level of security for the International Broadcast Centre.

Lodge said Monday's power failure hasn't shaken Vanoc's confidence in BC Hydro, but it is causing it to double-check for weaknesses. Prudence dictates that it make sure such a catastrophic failure -- which affected thousands of customers, including major hotels, restaurants and other businesses -- can't happen when the world comes calling in 2010, he said.

"When these things go wrong, they just make you stronger, so all we can do from this is be open to learn and be stronger by it," he said.

Neil Sharpe, BC Hydro's general manager of its Olympic initiative, said the plan calls for power to be routed from two different substations, meaning that if one fails, power from the second one will kick in. There are three substations that feed the downtown core.

Ann English, the director of BC Hydro's 2010 initiative, said the plan also calls for stepped-up inspections of 700 manholes around all of Vanoc's venues and field tests of all cables to make sure they can carry the necessary loads.

But even with all that, Sharpe said BC Hydro won't take any chances. It intends to station crews in every venue in the event power goes out, he said.

"Nobody expects these things to happen," he said, noting that he had never seen such a major failure in Vancouver in the decades he has worked for BC Hydro.

In Victoria, NDP energy critic John Horgan questioned whether the province is doing enough to prepare for the Olympics.

"With so much invested politically and economically in the Olympics, the importance of power and ... highlighting our comparative advantage in electricity, we do ourselves a disservice if the lights go out in February because of inadequate infrastructure," Horgan said.

The government could have emphasized upgrading infrastructure rather than hooking independent power projects into the grid, he said.

jefflee@png.canwest.com

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