This earthquake would have been catastrophic if it had hit a densely populated area, said Norsar. The last big earthquake hit Svalbard on Jan. 18, 1976, and measured 5.5 on the Richter scale, added the institute.

Next week, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will be in Svalbard for the official opening of the "doomsday vault" which will store frozen crop seeds from round the world.

Sources : Reuters, Norsar,