Earthquake on Jan Mayen

A fairly strong earthquake shaked Jan Mayen yesterday, August 30th, at 1:43 p.m., and caused some minor damage at the station Olonkinbyen. The magnitude was determined to 6.6 by Norsar and 6.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Jan Mayen

Jan Mayen. Photo: Kirsti Høgvard / Norwegian Polar Institute

The epicenter was situated bout 100 km west-northwest of Jan Mayen on the so called Jan Mayen Fracture Zone, a transform fault which displaces the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (the plate-tectonic spreading zone of the Atlantic Ocean) with approx. 150 km. It passes right off the northern tip of Jan Mayen. 8 minutes later, a smaller aftershock of magnitude 5.2 (USGS) occurred, with its epicenter just east of Svalbard. More aftershocks can be expected.

In 1997, the Norwegian Polar Institute published the report Natur- og kulturmiljøet på Jan Mayen (Norsk Polarinstitutt Meddelelser Nr. 144). It provides, among others, a description of the geological situation and earlier earthquake and volcanic activity on the island.

See also the news about yesterday's earthquake on NRK's website.

U.S. Geological Survey offers a service based on Google Earth that allows people to track earthquake activity around the Earth. A kmz file can be downloaded and imported into Google Earth. The file is automatically updated continuously and shows all earthquakes greater than mag. 4.0 (1.0 in North America). Google Earth must be installed on your PC in advance (free download).