Vancouver Island, Canada

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Vancouver Island is in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, part of the Canadian province of British Columbia. The island is 460 kilometres (286 mi) in length, 100 kilometres (62 mi) in width at its widest point, and 32,134 km2 (12,407 sq mi) in area. It is the largest island on the West Coast of the Americas.

The southern part of Vancouver Island and some of the nearby Gulf Islands are the only parts of British Columbia or Western Canada to lie south of the 49th Parallel. This area has one of the warmest climates in Canada, and since the mid-1990s has been mild enough in a few areas to grow subtropical Mediterranean crops such as olives and lemons.

The population of Vancouver Island was 870,297 as of 2019.[4] Nearly half of that population (401,700) live in the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia. Other notable cities and towns on Vancouver Island include Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Parksville, Courtenay, and Campbell River.

Indigenous peoples had inhabited Vancouver Island for thousands of years, long before the arrival of British and Spanish naval expeditions in the late 18th century. The British and Spanish conjointly named it Quadra's and Vancouver's Island in commemoration of the friendly negotiations held in 1792 between the Spanish commander of the Nootka Sound settlement, Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, and British naval captain George Vancouver, during the Nootka Crisis. (Bodega y Quadra's name was eventually dropped.) It is one of several North American locations named after George Vancouver, who explored the Pacific Northwest coast between 1791 and 1794.

Vancouver Island is the world's 43rd largest island, Canada's 11th largest island, and Canada's second most populous island after the Island of Montreal. It is the largest Pacific island east of New Zealand.


Vancouver Island has been the homeland to many indigenous peoples for thousands of years. The groupings, by language, are the Kwakwaka'wakw (also known as the Kwakiutl), Nuu-chah-nulth, and various Coast Salish peoples. While there is some overlap, Kwakwaka'wakw territory includes northern and northwestern Vancouver Island and adjoining areas of the mainland, the Nuu-chah-nulth span most of the west coast, while the Coast Salish cover the southeastern Island and southernmost extremities along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Their cultures are connected to the natural resources abundant in the area


Vancouver Island is mostly made up of volcanic and sedimentary rock which was formed offshore on the now disappeared Kula oceanic plate. Around 55 million years ago, a microplate of the Kula Plate subducted below the North American continental margin with great strain. A volcanic arc on the surface of the Kula Plate was thus accreted and fused onto the western edge of North America. These terranes were subjected to extreme warping from continued subduction of the Kula plate, leading to the formation of the distorted Insular Mountains. Much of the central mountainous region around Strathcona Park is part of the Karmutsen Formation, which is a sequence of tholeiitic pillow basalts and breccias. Since Vancouver Island has become an accretionary wedge on the North American continent, the Kula Plate has fully subducted beneath it and the remnants of the Farallon Plate, the Juan de Fuca Plate, are now subducting below the island. This process has led to Vancouver Island being one of the most seismically active regions in Canada. The subduction zone off the coast of the island forms a section of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The area has been known to host megathrust earthquakes in the past, the last occurring in 1700. In 1946, the Forbidden Plateau in the east of the Vancouver Island Ranges was the epicentre of an earthquake that registered 7.3 on the moment magnitude scale, the strongest ever recorded on land in Canada.

Vancouver Island was the location of the observation of the episodic tremor and slip seismic phenomenon.

Vancouver Island

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