More than 100 claims for structural damage have been filed since two earthquakes, the largest measuring 2.7 on the Richter scale, hit Groningen province on Saturday.
The larger of the two quakes struck the village of Uithuizermeerden, on the north coast, at around midday, followed by a smaller one measured at 1.7 in Uithuizen.
The Institute for Mining Damage in Groningen (IMG) said it had received 136 reports of damage over the weekend, including three saying there was an acute risk to safety. Inspections at two of the three sites established that there was no immediate danger, while a third is ongoing.
Residents said the quake was stronger than previous movements in the village. ‘It was the worst quake I’ve felt to date,’ Jan Majoor told RTV Noord. ‘The house was rocking this way and that.’
The IMG said it had received 107 damage claims per day for the last two months and is currently dealing with around 20,000 cases. Another 153,000 cases have been dealt with.
@rtvnoord @NOS enorme donder en aardbeving. Hele huis trilde, ramen, planten verschoven. Niet Normaal! Niet te vergelijken met eerdere…@Uithuizermeeden #Uithuizermeeden Telefoon roodgloeiend van iedereen die hem gevoeld heeft.
Niet best dit!
— Berry Haan (@berryhaanUHM) September 24, 2022
More than 1,000 quakes have been measured in the province of Groningen since 1986, with the heaviest measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale. The quakes have been linked to extraction of natural gas from the Slochteren field, which was discovered in 1959.
Production is being wound down in Groningen because of safety concerns, but junior minister for the extractive industries, Hans Vijlbrief, has said he wants to the field open at a low level for the time being.
The ministerial council is due to announce on Tuesday how much gas will be produced in Groningen in the next 12 months. In the last gas year (which runs from October to September) a total of 7.8 billion m3 were extracted, most of it to fill an order from Germany, but this year the amount is expected to be reduced to around 4.5 billion m3.
Vijlbrief has resisted calls to increase gas production to compensate for the shortages caused by Russia cutting off its supplies to Europe, but the Dutch government has said this is an ‘absolute last resort‘.
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