Around 7 a.m. on Sunday, a 2.5 magnitude earthquake struck the north east of the province of Groningen.
The Dutch wire service ANP reports that the epicenter was in Garrelsweer, a town with 500 inhabitants, as was an aftershock of 0.9. RTV Noord received around 130 comments from residents in the surrounding area following the quake, reporting hearing a bang and then feeling the quake: tweets from locals described feeling their homes shaking and nearly being jolted out of bed.
Recente aardbeving in Nederland: op 2019-06-09 om 05:00:15 UTC (07:00:15 NL) vond in #Garrelsweer een #aardbeving plaats met een magnitude van 2.5 (reviewed). https://t.co/UZzGr7L4TK pic.twitter.com/8sWmvqdAY2
— KNMI (@KNMI) June 9, 2019
This is the second fairly strong earthquake to hit the province in recent weeks. On the 22nd of May, a 3.4 magnitude earthquake, one of the biggest on record, hit the area near Westerwijtwerd and was felt as far away as the border of Drenthe. As of early June, 4,400 damage claims had been filed due to the May temblor.
The earthquakes in Groningen (and occasionally in Drenthe) are not due to naturally occurring seismic activity, but due to instability underground caused by ongoing natural gas extraction operations in the region. Gas extraction started in the ‘60s and the quakes began in the 1980s, and they have become a regular occurrence in the north in recent years. Thousands of residents have been living in damaged homes and fighting for compensation for years as political debates continue about when the natural gas tap can be turned off altogether.
Photo source: KNMI (Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute)