Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Around the Arctic August 30, 2012 - 1:03 pm

Aug. 30 quake shakes Arctic Norwegian island

An earthquake was also recorded in Iceland


A powerful earthquake shook the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen, about 700 kilometres north of Iceland, shortly before 2 p.m. local time on Aug 30.

The magnitude of the earthquake, which had its epicenter 428 km east-northeast of Ittoqqortoormiut in eastern Greenland, was initially measured at 7.0 on the Richter scale, used to determine how strong an earthquake is.

But the earthquake’s magnitude has now changed to 6.6.

The station manager at the Norwegian research facility on the island of Jan Mayen said the earthquake was dramatic.

Thor Paul Gjelseth said the ground “was shaking, and people found it difficult to stand upright.”

“Stuff from fell down from the walls everywhere, and we now have our hands full cleaning up,”  Gjelseth told VG Nett.

Iceland’s Meteorological Office also reported an earthquake near Reykjavik, with a magnitude of 4.1.

Over the past 80 years, about 2,000 earthquakes have been recorded in Nunavut.

Most are of these have been minor, falling below a magnitude of 4.0 on the Richter scale. These light earthquakes may make a low rumbling noise, but they produce little movement of the ground.

But Nunavut and northern Nunavik, where a 2006 earthquake of 4.0 magnitude shook Puvirnituq, are among the most earthquake-prone zones in Canada.

According to data gathered by the Geological Survey of Canada, the northeast coast of Baffin Island and the High Arctic islands have a particularly high incidence of earthquakes.

In nearby Greenland, the annual number of glacial earthquakes is rising, a study from 2006 shows.

From 1993 to 2002, there were between six and 15 a year, but in 2003, earthquake scientists — or seismologists — who track the movements of the earth, recorded 20 glacial earthquakes; in 2004, they recorded 24; and, for the first 10 months of 2005, they recorded 32.

The seismologists also found that the earthquakes occurred mainly during the summer months, which suggested these movements were associated with rapidly melting ice.


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