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Was bright light and loud boom over Vancouver Island caused by a meteor?

People from Victoria to Campbell River and Tofino report flash of light in sky on Dec. 12
Mount Arrowsmith on Vancouver Island. (Nancy Randall photo)

Constance Leverton was making dinner in her Maple Bay home on Vancouver Island Sunday night (Dec. 12) at approximately 5 p.m., when she heard a big boom.

“It was loud with all the windows closed,” she said.

Reports quickly started hitting social media from people between Victoria and Campbell River who either heard a boom or saw a bright light. Alberni Valley News reporter Elena Rardon was driving back to Port Alberni from Beaver Creek when she saw a bright, yellowish light, moving fast in the direction of Mt. Arrowsmith.

“I assumed it was a firework, but it was travelling down instead of up,” she said. “It was very bright and moved fast.”

A site called Volcano Discovery reported an “unconfirmed quake or seismic-like event…16 km northwest of Victoria” at 5:05 p.m. Weather enthusiasts and others surmised it was a meteor, and that it was seen in the vicinity of Port Alberni.


Paul (@Paul76966495) tweeted “Very large meteorite about 5 p.m. spotted from Cobble Hill, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Had very large fire tail. Impact unknown distance or location very large percussion.”

John Cassidy, an earthquake seismologist with Natural Resources Canada and University of Victoria professor said there was “nothing obvious” on seismographs on the south Island, and doubted it was an earthquake.

“An exploding meteor (bolide) makes the most sense, seen and heard over a large area—but no significant group shaking,” he said.

“It’s a mystery so far.”

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Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I proudly serve as the Alberni Valley News editor.
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