Earthquake swarms in Greenland

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Two earthquake swarms have been detected in Greenland. One occurred on the island of Disko in August 2010, the other one was active from January 2008 to June 2009 near the South-East Greenland coast c. 200 km south of Tasiilaq. An earthquake swarm is defined as a series of earthquakes of similar magnitude located within a small area. The magnitude of the largest earthquakes in a swarm is typically less than 4 (Ma & Eaton 2009). Swarm activity is distinctly different from the more common mainshock–aftershock activity, which is characterised by one large earthquake (mainshock) followed by a series of smaller aftershocks. Earthquake swarms mainly occur in areas with tectonic and/or volcanic activity (Stykes 1970), but intraplate swarms are also found in otherwise stable environments (Gregersen 1979; Atakan et al. 1994; Uski et al. 2006; Ma & Eaton 2009). Geological boundaries and old fault zones appear to be a common setting for intraplate earthquake swarms. Earthquake swarms have previously been detected in North and North-East Greenland (Gregersen 1979) at a time when the seismograph coverage was very sparse. It was concluded that the earthquake swarms were caused by tectonic stresses in and around old sedimentary basins near the continental margin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-78
Number of pages4
JournalGeological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2014

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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