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Daily Archives: 30. March 2016 − News & Stories


Ear­th­qua­ke in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

The­re was an ear­th­qua­ke yes­ter­day (Tues­day, 29th March) in Spits­ber­gen that was cle­ar­ly felt in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. At 1231 hours, hou­ses were shaken and a loud rum­ble was heard and felt. Some thought of an ava­lan­che or a small ava­lan­che from the roof of their house. In some cases, fur­ni­tu­re moved up to 30 cm and pla­tes were chat­te­ring in shel­ves and on tables.

Many peo­p­le were initi­al­ly afraid, which is under­stan­da­ble con­side­ring that Lon­gye­ar­by­en has felt the des­truc­ti­ve powers of natu­re quite recent­ly during the ava­lan­che befo­re Christ­mas. Peo­p­le in the admi­nis­tra­ti­on buil­ding (Nærings­byg­get), oppo­si­te the post office, spon­ta­neous­ly deci­ded to evacua­te for some minu­tes. The ear­th­qua­ke was also cle­ar­ly felt in Barents­burg. No dama­ge occur­red any­whe­re as far as known.

The epi­cent­re is in Storfjord, west of Edgeøya. The hypo­cent­re (epi­cent­re with fixed ver­ti­cal posi­ti­on) is assu­med to be at 10 km depth. The ear­th­qua­ke rea­ched 5.3 on Richter’s sca­le, making it strong enough to poten­ti­al­ly cau­se dama­ge, but far from the des­truc­ti­ve force that turns cities into ashes or cau­ses Tsu­na­mis else­whe­re in the world.

The­re are acti­ve faults (lar­ge cracks in the crust) in Storfjord which are fre­quent­ly caus­ing ear­th­qua­kes. Recent ones were noti­ced in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2014, the stron­gest one being the one from Febru­ary 2008, which rea­ched a remar­kab­le 6.2 on Richter’s sca­le. In addi­ti­on comes a lar­ge num­ber of ear­th­qua­kes that is recor­ded by seis­mic instru­ments, but not noti­ced in public.

This is what the ear­th­qua­ke on Tues­day loo­ked like. (Serious­ly: this is of cour­se a fake image, com­po­sed of seve­ral frames taken out of one pho­to.)

Earthquake Longyearbyen

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

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