Books falling, dogs barking, windows shaking…residents of Groningen were in for an uneasy night as another earthquake hit the region at around 2 AM. 😳 While seismic activity isn’t a new phenomenon in the region, this was the biggest earthquake since May 2019.
That also means — one of the heaviest to date. 😅 The quake hit hardest near the town of Garrelsweer, reports the NOS.
More than 500 reports from residents
The regional public broadcaster RTV Noord received hundreds of reports from residents who’d felt the earthquake.
A resident of Loppersum told the editors: “I was woken up by a bang, then the house shook for several seconds.” Meanwhile, someone from Ten Boer described it as “A violent, brief jolt,” saying “I was sitting in the attic and moved with the chair, house and all.”
(Literally) shook residents also took to Twitter:
State Supervision of Mines demands explanation
The natural gas extraction operations in Groningen are what causes the increased seismic activity. 🏭 But while it’s been so for years and is likely to continue, it shouldn’t happen at this scale: The Dutch Mining Act states a yearly limit of 0.40 earthquakes per square kilometre.
However, the ‘maximum earthquake density’ has already been exceeded this year. Over the past months, the measurement has jumped to 0.42 earthquakes per square kilometre for 2021.
And enough is enough, the State Supervision of Mines (SodM) has now demanded an explanation from the gas extraction company NAM. In particular, they want a report analysing the increased seismic activity in the Loppersum region.
However, RTV Noord reports that it’s unlikely the gas extraction will be limited. A spokesperson told them “‘The further reduction of production is now of little use. It has no effect on reducing the earthquakes. The quakes are the result of pressure equalization in the gas field.”
What do you think of the gas extraction in Groningen? Have you felt the earthquakes? Tell us in the comments below!
Feature Image: Nirmal Suresh/Unsplash