Tuesday 30 November 2021

Groningen hit by new earthquake, strongest in six months

Parts of Groningen province were hit by the strongest earthquake in six months on Wednesday night, this time measuring 3 on the Richter scale.

The quake again centred close to the village of Loppersum, where some of the worst earthquake damage has been recorded over the years. People in parts of the city of Groningen itself noticed the tremor, which took place at 03.13 hours.

The quakes are caused by the land settling following the extraction of natural gas from underneath the northern province.

One person woken by the quake used the microblogging service Twitter to ask ‘has anyone got [economic affairs] minister Kamp’s number? Then we can wake him up en masse.’

Measures

Last month Kamp announced a package of measures to help the region and a large reduction in natural gas extraction from the Loppersum area. But locals are still angry the government is not doing enough.

Seismologist Leslo Evers from the KNMI meteorological bureau told Nos such strong quakes occur just a couple of times a year. ‘We have seen an increase in the number of quakes in Groningen and they are becoming more serious,’ he said.

Since 1994 there have been 18 quakes measuring at least 3 on the Richter scale. The strongest was 3.6 in August 2012.

Cuts

Kamp, who had previously denied the quakes are affecting property values in the province, announced in January total natural gas production will be cut back around 20% this year and in 2015, and reduced again to 40 billion cubic metres in 2016.

This will cost the treasury €2.3bn in lost income over the three-year period, Kamp said in a briefing for MPs. In addition, ministers have earmarked an extra €1.2bn for Groningen province to strengthen buildings and the infrastructure.

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