Saturday, October 18, 2008

Earthquake hits northern Sweden

An earthquake rumbled through northern Sweden on Thursday night.

The quake rattled residents near Umeå in southern Västerbotten, but neither police nor emergency services received any reports of injuries.

The Västerbottens-Kuriren newspaper reports that the Norwegian seismic research organization Norsar registered a quake measuring 2.46 on the Richter scale with an epicenter several dozen kilometres south of Burträsk, near Skellefteå.

The data from Norway corresponds with estimates by Uppsala University seismologist Reynir Bödvarsson.

“My guess is that this was an earthquake stronger than 2.3 but less than 3 on the Richter scale,” he told the newspaper.

Bödvarsson isn’t surprised that the quake occurred, as it took place in an area of Sweden which, relative to the rest of the country, often experiences detectable seismic tremors.

“About ten times a year we have an earthquake in Sweden around 2 [on the Richter scale] and about once we have a quake of 3. These happen primarily along the [east] coast from Uppland and northward, as well as in the area around Vänern lake and Skagerrak [on the west coast],”

But residents living in the area weren’t as well prepared to have the earth shaking beneath their feet.

“I was sitting and talking on the telephone with my girlfriend up in Åsänet. We heard the boom at exactly the same time. At my place, the glass shook in my bookcase,” said Roger Olofsson from Röbäck in an email to the newspaper.

Neither he nor his girlfriend found the earthquake to be a pleasant experience.

“She thought at first that a car had crashed into the wall of her home,” wrote Olofsson.

The largest earthquake ever recorded in Sweden occurred in 1904 outside the Koster islands on the west coast and measured nearly 6.0 on the Richter scale.

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