UPDATED: Earthquakes aren’t common in Scandinavia, so a 4.7 shake on the Richter Scale got lots of media attention in Norway on Monday. The early morning quake was registered in the North Sea between Norway’s West Cape and the Færø Islands, around 138 kilometers west of Florø.
Initially registered at 5.1 on the Richter Scale, it was “an unusually strong quake,” according to geologists, and strong enough to prompt Norwegian state oil company Equinor to temporarily shut down production on its Snorre B platform in the North Sea. It’s located close enough to the epicenter of the quake that Equinor wanted to be sure there was no damage. Underwater robots confirmed that everything was “normal,” no damage was detected and production was starting up again later in the day.
One worker on duty on the platform told state broadcaster NRK that the platform suddenly began to vibrate when the quake struck. “It felt like a large wave that can hit the platform in extreme weather,” said Ingemund Steinsund, “but the weather was good, so it didn’t feel right.” He’s worked on the Snorre B for nearly 20 years.
The quake was the strongest in the North Sea since 1989 and felt by lots of residents along the Norwegian coast, from Egersund in the south to Møre og Romsdal farther north. Monika Hovland Berg told state broadcaster NRK that her home at Forus in Stavanger shook and her dogs reacted to the quake. Another resident joked on social media that he thought his clothes dryer had started up by itself, while a woman thought an excavator was driving by her home.
The quake, which hit at 6:32am, was also felt in the mountains around Voss, east of Bergen. “I thought it was a helicopter flying much too low, it was a bit scary,” wrote one woman. Even a resident of Hyggen, west of Oslo and far to the south, said he felt the quake, as did residents in Øvre Eiker east of Drammen.