Environment / ‘The house was shaking’: rumbles felt after earthquake in Norwegian Sea

Data from the seismic station in Shetland.

SOME people in Shetland said they woke up to their walls shaking this morning (Monday) as an earthquake struck in the sea between the isles and Norway.

The rumbles were reported by folk from Unst to the south mainland – as well as in Orkney and near Aberdeen.

An earthquake with a magnitude of around 4.9 was reported roughly 200km northwest of Bergen, with local folk experiencing the after effects shortly after 5.30am.

Adam Priest said the earthquake resulted in his whole South Nesting home shaking.

An image showing where the earthquake struck off Norway.

“The house shook for 30 seconds, like a tuning fork,” he said.

“It woke me at first then just kept shaking, slowly diminishing over the 30 seconds.”

Meanwhile in Sandwick Rebecca Colyer said she was awake already and heard a trembling noise before her walls started shaking.


“At first I thought it was the washing machine on a spin, but it felt too strong for that,” she said.

Tiffany Rollo, who also lives in Sandwick, said she woke up to what felt like the whole house vibrating.

“I thought it was just a heavy goods lorry or something passing initially but it seemed to get worse with the whole house shaking and items on my bedside table were rattling and vibrating,” she said.

“It went on for about 20 or 30 seconds or so. My son and husband slept right through it.

“My daughter was on the NorthLink returning home from a gymnastics trip south so I was worried there might have been effects for them out at sea but they don’t seem to have felt anything thankfully.”

Data from the British Geological Survey (BGS) shows that its Lerwick seismic station recorded activity for around two minutes.

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It shows a clear peak before things calm down again.

Whilst some in Shetland woke from their slumber as a result of the rumbling, many said they did not feel it – or slept right through it.

This morning’s earthquake occurred in roughly the same area to sea quake with a magnitude of 4.8 on the Richter scale that could be felt across the isles on 9 January 2007.

A British Geological Survey [BGS] spokesperson said: “BGS can confirm it has recorded a 5.1 magnitude earthquake 180 kilometres off the north east of Shetland at around 5.30am this morning.

“We have received a number of reports from people in Shetland and the north east of Scotland who felt the event. There are also reports of the event being felt in Norway.

“Hundreds of small earthquakes are detected around the UK every year which occur as crustal stresses within the tectonic plates are relieved by movement occurring on pre-existing fault planes.”

The organisation operates a network of over 100 seismograph stations across the UK.

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