6.6 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Off Greenland’s Eastern Coast

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake has hit off of Greenland’s eastern coast on Thursday, according to the US Geological Survey. So far, there have been no reports of injuries or damage on Greenland or in the nearby Norwegian islands.

The earthquake was originally reported as a magnitude 7.0 and was centered 266 miles east-northeast of Greenland’s Ittoqqortoormiit island, reports Reuters.

The USGA has said that the quake occurred at a depth of 5.3 miles. Police in Ittoqqortoormiit, which has just 500 inhabitants, said that they were aware of the earthquake, but they did not feel it. They also said that the island does not have a tradition of issuing tsunami warnings.

According to The Washington Post, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) recorded the 6.6 quake, which was followed by a 5.2-magnitude quake about eight minutes later. The closest island to the epicenter was Jan Mayen (58 miles away), a Norwegian island with a research station but no permanent population.

Erik Persheim, an electronics engineer at the research station, notes that, while the quake was felt on the island, there was no damage and no injuries reported. Persheim stated:

“We watched the mountain as the loose stones and shale came sliding down. It didn’t seem very big and I don’t think much of anything broke, but we’ll have to have a thorough inspection.”

Norwegian seismologist Tormod Kvaerna also stated that Jan Mayen, which lies about 370 miles east of Greenland, is very close to a fault line, meaning that the island is prone to earthquakes, although he could not recall any previous quakes of that size. While Kvaerna noted, “This is very big,” he also added that it likely wasn’t big enough to trigger a tsunami.

While the 6.6 magnitude earthquake is bigger than the 2008 6.2 magnitude quake off the Svalbard islands (billed as the mos powerful quake ever recorded in Norway), it is not clear it Thursday’s quake epicenter was inside Norwegian territorial waters.