Norway Feels Earthquake

27 January 2007 | 05:56 Code : 12541 Geoscience events
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Terri Mapes, the About.com Guide to Scandinavia for Visitors, made note of....
Terri Mapes, the About.com Guide to Scandinavia for Visitors, made note of a "strong" magnitude 4 earthquake on Sunday afternoon (see details, in Norwegian, from the Norsk Nasjonalt Seismisk Nettverk). No, it was not strong; it was a light earthquake. But she can be forgiven because Norway gets few earthquakes, and those mainly offshore. Scandinavia sits on a thick, cold, ancient chunk of continental lithosphere and is not being ripped apart by the kind of tectonic forces that affect, for instance, California or Indonesia. Scandinavian quakes generally arise as a leftover from the last ice age—the weight of the ice cap pushed the crust down, as it does today in Greenland, and the land is still rebounding today, some 12,000 years later. The stresses from that process (isostatic rebound) sometimes make earthquakes. Sunday's quake was unusual in being onshore, making it widely felt.

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