Major Arctic quake rocks Norwegian island

A powerful 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Norway’s Jan Mayen island in the Arctic Ocean on Thursday afternoon.

Major Arctic quake rocks Norwegian island
This picture from 2009 shows the new weather station at Jan Mayen, located beside a landing strip (Photo: Heiko Junge/Scanpix).

The quake’s epicentre was located on the ocean floor some 100 kilometres west of the island, seismologist Conrad Lindholm at the Norsar research foundation told newspaper Aftenposten.

The earthquake hit at 3.43pm Norwegian time at a depth of 8.6 kilometres, according to data from US Geological Survey.

There were no reports of any injuries among the 44 people on the island, but staff at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute’s weather station said they had witnessed the effects of the tremor first hand.

”The walls were moving and objects jumped off the shelves,” station manager Thor Paul Gjelseth told NTB.

Gjelseth said the weather station had seldom experienced a quake as powerful.

"It was a very, very powerful quake," Svein Rabbevåg, station commander of the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation, told Aftenposten.

"We haven't registered any injuries among the 44 people who are on the island, but there has been some material damage and there have been a few rock slides," he said.

A volcanic island, Jan Mayen sits in the Arctic Sea some 500 kilometres east of Greenland.

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Norway rescue team arrives in Kathmandu

Norway’s 34-strong rescue team has finally arrived in Kathmandu to help find and treat victims of Saturday’s devastating earthquake, after their journey ran on some 30 hours longer than originally planned.

Norway rescue team arrives in Kathmandu
Norsar's camp at Kathmandu airport. Photo: Norsar
“Now we are really ready to get started,” Kim Erik Larsen, from the Oslo fire department, told VG, shortly after departing the group’s plane in the early hours of Tuesday morning. 
He denied that their flight’s long delay in Baku, Azerbaijan, 
due to a shortage of parking space at the airport in Kathmandu, had yet made their mission futile. 
“There have been several examples of people that have survived up to 10 days. So the story says that it is not too late. We should at least do our best,” he said. 
According to Jim Olav Hansen, Managing Director of Norwegian Search and Rescue (Norsar), the team’s leaders spent the early morning in a meeting, learning where they were to be posted. 
“Right now, the Norwegian rescue team in a military camp at the airport in Kathmandu, where the group’s leader is meeting with those coordinating the extensive rescue operation in Nepal,” he said in a statement. “At the meeting they will receive a briefing on where in Nepal they will be sent.” 
Over 5,000 people have so far been confirmed killed by the fatal earthquake that rocked Nepal on Saturday, with the country’s authorities expecting the official figures to continue to climb. 

The Norwegian team includes doctors, air ambulance, military personel, fire personel, and six rescue dog and their handlers. 
“The way we are put together, with the particular blend of expertise, we can do almost everything – everything from search and rescue to relief,” Larsen said. 
The Norwegian Airlines plane that brought the volunteers to Kathmandu returned to Norway on Tuesday morning, evacuating 97 people from disaster-hit areas. 
Among them are students from Seljord Folkehøgskule, who were on a trip to Kathmandu when the earthquake struck, nine Finnish citizens, two Swedish citizens, one Dane, one Nepalese person, and a badly injured climber from Ireland together with the doctors treating him.