Tremors on Bornholm: Acoustic pressure waves from unknown source

Published 16-05-2023

Tremors recorded on the Danish Baltic island of Bornholm over the weekend were not caused by earthquakes, but by pressure waves in the atmosphere.

GEUS has seismographs distributed across Denmark, including two on Bornholm.

On Saturday 13 May at 3.15 PM, the habitants of Bornholm experienced a number of tremors. Shortly after, GEUS began receiving reports on the incident.

On the morning of 14 May, the seismologists at GEUS found that the tremors were not caused by an earthquake based on a thorough analysis of the data from the Danish seismographs as well as from our neighbouring countries. In addition, the seismologists located a tremor in Poland about 20 minutes earlier, which looked like a minor blast, but due to its size, they quickly ruled out that it could have caused the tremors in Bornholm.

GEUS have also now been in touch with colleagues in our neighbouring countries who have also not recorded any tremors in the subsurface related to the tremors that were felt on Bornholm.

The seismologists concluded that the tremors were not caused by anything in the subsurface, and therefore must have been caused by acoustic pressure waves from one of more events in the atmosphere. Acoustic waves in the atmosphere do not lie within GEUS’ area of expertise and therefore it is not possible for GEUS’ seismologists to speculate what could have produced the pressure waves.

Seismic monitoring and research

GEUS is responsible for the monitoring and registration of earthquakes and other seismic activity in Denmark and Greenland.

Data from the seismographs distributed across Denmark and Greenland are used to locate both local and distant earthquakes. GEUS’ data are part of the international monitoring of tremors and contribute to more accurate localisations. In addition, the seismic data form the basis of research and counselling within a broad range of disciplines, both nationally and internationally.

Read more about the monitoring of seismic activities