Gothenburg rocked by 'fairly big' earthquake

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Gothenburg rocked by 'fairly big' earthquake
An earthquake hit the Gothenburg area on Wednesday evening. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A rare earthquake shook the Gothenburg area in western Sweden on Wednesday evening.


The earthquake hit just west of the Styrsö island outside Gothenburg at shortly before 10pm and could be felt in the area in an around Sweden's second biggest city.

“First there was a rumble, and then things started to shake. It was considerably noticeable and rumbled on pretty well. The doors were shaking. At first I thought there had been an explosion outside the house,” said Pontus Lundahl, a reporter for Sweden's TT newswire who was in Gothenburg on Wednesday evening.

The police and fire and rescue control rooms said that they had been inundated with calls from concerned residents reporting that they had felt the ground shaking and furniture wobbling.

“It was a fairly big quake for Swedish conditions. Unfortunately we don't have any precise parametres, but I would guess that it was close to 2.5 on the Richter scale. Perhaps somewhat higher,” said Reynir Bödvarsson, a seismologist at Uppsala University.

In earthquake terms this is considered to be relatively light incident, with the scale stretching to above nine, so our readers will be forgiven if some of you are less than impressed.

By means of comparison, early on Thursday morning an earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale rocked south-eastern parts of Queensland in Australia.

The quake could have been felt by people up to 228 kilometres away and could have caused damage up to 18 kilometres away, reported Geoscience Australia.

READ ALSO: Rare tornadoes hit northern Sweden

However, even tremors that are only powerful enough to be felt at all, are a rare occurrence in Sweden. The Nordic country sees around three earthquakes measuring around 3.0 in magnitude scale every year and most of them go by unnoticed.

Bödvarsson told TT that the sea west of Gothenburg is an area with seismic activity, but that an earthquake of this magnitude should pose no threat to buildings. He added that any potential after-quakes should be so small that they will probably not be noticed.

In September last year, parts of central Sweden were hit by a quake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale. Seismologists said they believed it was the strongest the country had seen in a century, since 1904 when a quake measuring 5.5 on the scale shook the area by the western Koster islands.


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