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BREAKING: Magnitude 5.3 earthquake rattles Longyearbyen, no injuries or serious damage reported

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An earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale rattled Longyearbyen and the nerves of some its residents at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, but no injuries or severe damage was reported to officials.

The earthquake was centered in Storfjorden near Edgeøya, according to the Norwegian Seismic Array. A short tremor was followed by one lasting about 30 seconds.

“We have received reports that there were many in Svalbard who observed the earthquake and many were intimidated,” said Berit Opsahl Paulsen, an NSA seismologist, in an interview with NRK.

No aftershocks were reported as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, but there is strong likelihood some will occur, Paulsen said.

earthquakehistory
A map compiled by the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program shows the largest strength and location of the biggest earthquake’s in the Svalbard region in recorded history. While earthquakes occur relatively frequently in the vicinity of Svalbard, they frequently go unnoticed in settled areas of the archipelago.

Storfjorden is considered an active seismic area due to ancient fault zones near a mid-ocean ridge in Svalbard. An earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale – the strongest recorded in Norwegian history – occurred in the area at  3:46 a.m on Feb. 21, 2008,

“That was early in the morning and the bed was moving,” said Birger Amundsen, who was editor of Svalbardposten when the larger earthquake struck. But because there were strong winds outside “I didn’t connect it with an earthquake.”

He said he was sitting inside Fruene when Tuesday’s earthquake, but didn’t feel any noticeable shaking when it occurred.

The 2008 earthquake caused notable damage to the museum in Barentsburg, as well as lesser damage to some buildings in Longyearbyen. It occurred about 10 kilometers beneath the seabed floor and was followed by about 15 aftershocks, according to The Norwegian Polar Institute.

Before that, the most recent earthquake of note, measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale, struck Jan. 18, 1976.

The strongest earthquake measured on the mainland was a magnitude 5.4 quake in Oslo in 1904, according to the institute. Researchers also believe an earthquake “probably close magnitude 6.0” occurred at Helgeland in 1819, before seismic measurements existed.

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck east of Svalbard in 1992, but its epicenter was outside Norwegian waters.

 

 

 

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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One thought on “BREAKING: Magnitude 5.3 earthquake rattles Longyearbyen, no injuries or serious damage reported

  1. Rock ‘n Roll! So glad no damage occurred. Tectonic forces across the Arctic latitudes are swinging into action.
    Pavlof Volcano, one of Alaska’s most active volcanoes, is 625 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula, the finger of land that sticks out from mainland Alaska toward the Aleutian Islands. The volcano in the 8,261-foot mountain erupted about 4 p.m. Sunday, spitting out an ash cloud that rose to 20,000 feet.

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