Written by on . Last updated December 8th, 2023.

A shallow M4.9 earthquake struck in the North Greenland Sea 298 kilometer from Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Jan Mayen in the morning of Thursday November 16th, 2023.

Felt the earthquake? Share this article: Share on Facebook Tweet Submit to Reddit Share on LinkedIn

Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the North Greenland Sea, 474 kilometers (294 mi) off the coast of Svalbard and Jan Mayen, 298 kilometer southwest of Longyearbyen in Svalbard. The center of this earthquake had a very shallow depth of 10 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Nov 16, 2023 10:21 (Longyearbyen Time)
- Nov 16, 2023 09:21 Universal Time.
Location: 298 km SW of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Svalbard and Jan Mayen.
Coordinates 76°19'18"N 7°3'12"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 4.9
Detected by 118 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.052 .
Depth: 10 km (6 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Tsunami Risk: Low tsunami risk
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 do not usually cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Nearby towns and cities

Located 298 kilometer (185 mi) southwest of the epicenter of this earthquake, Longyearbyen (Svalbard, Svalbard and Jan Mayen) is the nearest significant population center.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place
298 km (185 mi)
NE from epicenter

Svalbard, Svalbard and Jan Mayen.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Aftershocks detected

Since this main shock, 1 smaller aftershock was detected. Just 3 days after this main shock, an earthquake measuring MAG-2.5 was detected 48 km (30 mi) south of this earthquake.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 4.9 Nov 16, 2023 10:21
(Longyearbyen Time)
Aftershock M 2.5 3 days later
Nov 19, 2023 00:33 (Longyearbyen Time)
48 km (30 mi)
S from Main Shock.
Detected MAG2.5+ earthquakes within within 100km (62 mi), that occurred in the three days before and after the main shock.

More earthquakes coming?

The risk of aftershocks decreases rapidly over time. Usually, aftershocks are at least one order of magnitude lower than a main shock.

It's always adviced to be cautious of the risk of a larger shock following any significant earthquake, however this risk is fairly small. There is a roughly 94 percent change that no larger main shock will follow in the days following this earthquake.

Read: How to Stay Safe during an Earthquake (cdc.gov).

Earthquakes like this happen often in the region

Earthquakes of this strength are very common in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since May 27th, 2023, when a 4.9 magnitude earthquake hit 240 km (149 mi) further north. An even stronger magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck on July 18th, 2022.

In total, 14 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.9 or higher have been registered within 300km (186 mi) of this epicenter in the past 10 years. This comes down to an average of once every 9 months.

Low tsunami risk

DISCLAIMER: We strongly suggest to closely monitor advice from local authorities with regards to tsunami risks. Our analysis is based on automatically collected data from external sources, and these might contain mistakes. In addition, earthquakes can cause landslides that may lead to a tsunami, or be a followed by another, potentially stonger, earthquake.

Based on early data it appears this earthquake was not strong enough (lower than MAG-6.5) to be likely to cause destructive tsunami's. However this earthquake appeared to have hit at a shallow depth under sea, so stay cautious and monitor advice from local authorities.

Tsunami Risk Factors

Factor Under Sea? MAG-6.5 or stronger? Shallow depth?
Explanation Almost all tsunami's are caused by earthquakes with their epicenter under sea or very near the sea. However stay cautious in coastal areas as earthquakes on land may cause landslides into sea, potentially still causing a local tsunami. Under MAG 6.5: Very unlikely to cause a tsunami.
MAG 6.5 to 7.5: Destructive tsunami's do occur, but are uncommon. Likely to observe small sea level changes.
MAG 7.6+: Earthquakes with these magnitudes might produce destructive tsunami's.
Most destructive tsunami's are caused by shallow earthquakes with a depth between 0 and 100km under the surface of the earth. Deeper tsunami's are unlikely to displace to ocean floor.
This Earthquake This earthquake appears to have struck under the sea. Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 4.9. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 10 km (6 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.


Last updated 08/12/23 11:58 (). This article contains currently available information about the earthquake and is automatically composed. We continue to update this article up to a few days after the earthquake occurred.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us6000lnsa
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20231116_0000078
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

Share this article: Share on Facebook Tweet Submit to Reddit Share on LinkedIn