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Scientists see a 25 percent chance that a big quake could hit Vancouver within the next 30 years.

Mr. Clague cited an active fault south of Abbotsford, on Vancouver’s sprawling eastern edge, and other potential fault lines in Georgia Strait. An active fault under Seattle, identified about 20 years ago, has produced many temblors stronger than magnitude 7.0.

“Things are being done, but perhaps we are sleepwalking a bit, as far as the public goes. We think that we can’t have Atlantic City devastated by a superstorm, but these things can happen,” he said.