Three strong earthquakes reported off Vancouver Island

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A third quake, being called an "aftershock" happened six minutes after that.

The first quake, reported as magnitude 6.5, was followed by another, of magnitude 6.8, around 40 minutes later. They say there are a few reports of light shaking but no damage or tsunami is expected.

Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s seismologist and meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe reported that the quakes were relatively shallow in depth and showed a horizontal "strike-slip" movement, which lessened the tsunami threat.

British Columbia, like the rest of western North America, is located on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" that encircles the Pacific Ocean, the world's most seismically active area.

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"Three large ones in a row does seem unusual and I'm sure scientists will be learning as much as they can over the next couple of days about the change in stresses just off our coast".

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center tracks natural disaster data for the West Coast. About 90 percent of the world's earthquakes are registered in the region. The quake caused a tsunami that hit the east coast of Japan.

Ben van der Pluijm, a geologist at the University of MI, told Express.co.uk: "On a yearly basis we have roughly 1500 magnitude 5-5.9 earthquakes around the world".

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