Thursday, October 23, 2008

Earthquakes in Sweden?

We're used to earthquakes in California. When it starts to shake in San Francisco, we just wait it out a few moments, wondering "is this the build up to the Big One? Do I need to bolt?" Up until last week, I never knew Swedes experienced temblors as well. The Swedish landscape, after all, is mostly flat, except in the northwest near the mountainous border with Norway. Last week, a quake on the northeast coast, measuring 2.46 on the Richter scale with an epicenter near Skellefteå, rattled some Swedish nerves. No reports of injuries or damages.

Granted, only small tremors have been recorded in Sweden for more than 100 years. Sweden has experienced one significant quake since 1900. In 1904, two years before the 7.8 San Francisco earthquake, a temblor that measured nearly 6.0 on the Richter scale, centered off Sweden's west coast, shook the Koster Islands (near Strömstad).

Sweden may shake, rattle and roll now and again, but lucky for Swedes, it's far from being a tectonic hotspot.

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