There's a new natural event in town that happens in oceans and it's a mash-up of two natural disasters. The natural occurrence has been happening for years off the coasts of three provinces. Stormquakes in Canada occur when two natural phenomenon come together and they combine huge waves and tremors. 

A new study released this week shows that a combination of hurricanes and earthquakes happen in the ocean during those big storms that happen every year and scientists are calling them stormquakes.

According to the study, stormquakes have "equivalent earthquake magnitudes that can be greater than 3.5."

Stormquakes happen off the coasts of three provinces in Canada, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and B.C., along with other places in the U.S. and Mexico. 

A special type of military sensor is needed to spot stormquakes, said Dr. Wenyuan Fan, a Florida State University seismologist who was the study's lead author, to the Associate Press

Stormquakes happen when giant waves from hurricanes trigger a secondary wave that interacts with the seafloor. That interaction causes the seafloor to shake. And the stormquake is born!

But this only happens in places where there's shallow flat land and a large continental shelf. 

Through research, Fan's team found 14,077 stormquakes off of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, B.C., Florida, and New England and in the Gulf of Mexico between September 2006 and February 2015. 

Stormquakes are very common but they weren't actually picked up on before now because they were considered to be just seismic background noise and the shaking creates a wave that seismologists don't usually look for when they are monitoring earthquakes.

The study also said that big storms like Hurricane Ike in 2008 and Hurricane Irene in 2011 caused a lot of them. 

However, you don't need to be scared about stormquakes impacting you if you live in provinces where stormquakes were detected off the coast.

"This is the last thing you need to worry about," said Fan.

While stormquakes sound like something that could have destructive consequences for Canadians who live on the coast of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and B.C., they really pose no threat to humans since we don't stand on the seafloor during a hurricane. 

So, this natural disaster two-for-one is just something to marvel at because of how odd it is, not something to be scared of. 


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


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