Powerful quake hits Arctic region off Norway

February 21st, 2008 - 9:56 pm ICT by admin  

Oslo, Feb 21 (DPA) A powerful quake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale hit the Barents Sea south of the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard early Thursday, public broadcaster NRK reported. Initial reports suggested no one was injured in the quake that struck 140 km southeast of the archipelago’s main settlement, Longyearbyen.

Svalbard has been selected to host a secure vault to store millions of seeds needed to maintain global crop diversity that was to be inaugurated next week.

International and national gene banks have shipped material to be stored at the vault that has been blasted into a mountainside.

“There was no damage to the vault,” Ola Westengen, the coordinator of operations at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, said and pointed out that the vault was located far from the quake’s epicentre.

Geologists at the seismology and earthquake centre NORSAR said the quake was likely the strongest to have hit Norway in recent times.

In January 1976, a quake with a magnitude of 5.5 on the Richter scale hit the same area.

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