Strong earthquake in Svalbard

An earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter Scale was registered early morning 21st February at 3:46 a.m. (local time) in Storfjorden, about 140 km south-east of Longyearbyen. This is the strongest quake in Norwegian history.


Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute.

The focus of the quake was localized on the sea floor, about 10 km under into the earth’s crust. 15 aftershocks was registered shortly after.

The epicenter in Storfjorden lies close to a relatively large fault running in north-south direction. Through Svalbard’s geological history this fault has repeatedly been the focus of seismic activity.

No damage from the quake has been reported in Longyearbyen. Consequences had probably been severe if the epicenter was located on land.

Strongest eartquake in Norway, mainland: 5,4 in Oslo, 1904.

Strongest pre-20th century quake in Norway (prior to seismic measurements): probably close to 6 at Helgeland, 1819.

Source: Norwegian Polar Institute.

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