NJG84-1-03
2004
A re-assessment of the 31st of August 1819 Lurøy earthquake – Not the largest in NW Europe
84
1
pp. 57-66

The Lurøy earthquake of the 31st of August 1819, with magnitude MS = 5.8 – 6.2, is claimed to be the largest in Norway and NW Europe in 'historic' times. We present a re-evaluation of the macroseismic observations that reduces its magnitude to MS = 5.1 or equivalently ML = 4.8. We put less emphasis on local secondary effects like avalanches, high sea waves, and mudslides, as they may have been influenced by great amounts of rain reported for August 1819. Important observations for our interpretation are the minimal damage to man-made structures and similarity to the macroseismic observations of the Bodø earthquake of the 15th of December 1962 with magnitude ML = 4.5. A contradiction in a seismological context is that the Lurøy earthquake was allegedly reported felt in Stockholm (> 800 km away) but not in many communities less that 100 km away. Our magnitude estimate will have significance for the risk levels and hazard parameters such as recurrence intervals for large and possibly destructive earthquakes, particularly for offshore north Norway

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