Powerful underwater quake off Norwegian Arctic island

6.8 magnitude earthquake rocks Norwegian island – one of the most powerful ever to hit the region

  • Quake struck in Arctic Ocean northwest of largely uninhabited Jan Mayen island
  • Powerful magnitude 6.8 earthquake was recorded at 2.49am in Arctic Ocean
  • Norwegian quake centre NORSAR said it was one of the strongest registered

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 has rocked a Norwegian island – one of the most powerful ever to hit the region.

The quake struck in the Arctic Ocean northwest of the largely uninhabited and remote Jan Mayen island, officials said. No injuries or damage were immediately reported.

The Norwegian earthquake centre NORSAR says the quake was recorded at 2.49am in the sea between the volcanic island and Greenland, a Danish territory.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 has rocked the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen (file picture) – one of the most powerful ever to hit the region

The tremor was centred some 74 miles off Jan Mayen at a depth of approximately 6.2 miles, NORSAR said.

Norway’s news agency NTB said there were 18 people on the island – military and meteorological institute staff – who were woken by the quake.


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Silje Wennesland told NTB that ‘I had my heart in my throat when I woke up because the mirror and the cabinets shook.’

NORSAR said aftershocks are expected but no tsunami warning was issued.

‘Fortunately, no one was injured, and everyone is fine, but we noticed it,’ Wennesland told NTB. 

‘It has happened before, and this was quite powerful,’ she said, adding the tremor lasted for 30 seconds.

NORSAR said the quake was one of the strongest registered. Since 1970, about 10 quakes have been registered in the region with a magnitude of 6 or higher. The previous such quake was recorded Aug. 30, 2012, and had a magnitude of 6.6.

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