A magnitude 1.9 earthquake hit north of Groningen early Friday morning, according to the KNMI meteorological office. Confirmed.
Locals in the villages of Uithuizen and Kantens reported vibrations, rumblings, followed by a “muffled bang” and “cracking noises” in the walls, local broadcaster RTV Noord reported. There have been no reports of damage so far.
The earthquake occurred 3 kilometers below the surface, similar to the depth at which gases are pumped. Gas extraction has been blamed for a series of previous quakes of similar strength in the region, the most recent occurring near Garrelsweer in May.
The worst earthquake ever to hit Groningen occurred in November last year, when a magnitude 3.2 earthquake hit the same area.
Gas production has been curtailed in northern states, but residents’ hopes were dashed when the government announced it would need to extract 7.6 billion cubic meters of gas in 2022, double the forecast.
After measures to improve cross-border energy efficiency fall short of expectations, much of the excess gas will be exported to Germany, where some 5 million homes are connected to Groningen’s gas grid.
The government may also look to the Groningen gas field to make up for lost imports from Russia, which accounts for 20% of the Dutch gas reserves.
Since 1986, more than 1,000 earthquakes with magnitudes up to 3.6 have struck, damaging homes and businesses. To find out exactly why the development of the massive gas fields beneath the northern provinces discovered in 1959 caused so much damage, and who is responsible for the costs. A public investigation was launched in June of this year.
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