Residents in Surhuisterveen felt the quake on Saturday evening
Translated by Thomas Ansell
The location of the quake itself was actually in the province of Groningen, by the village of Opende (Grootegast), which is just outside of the gas-extraction zone. However, it is exceptionally close by to a number of smaller wells in Friesland, and the KNMI (Royal Dutch Meteorological Association) has confirmed that it is an ‘induced’ quake, rather than tectonic.
The depth of the quake suggests that it was caused by gas extraction; it hit 3 km underground. Seismologist Läslo Evers from the KNMI told the Omrop Fryslan that Opende has been hit by quakes before; in 1999 and 2003. The area does suffer from reasonably regular quakes, but not as much as the areas in Northern Groningen, which have been hit by multiple quakes in the last few years, causing significant damage.
Separately, a local pressure group has called for an end to all gas-drilling in Friesland. Oebele Veenstra, who represents the group which is against all gas extraction around Smallingerland (Drachten), said “in Groningen the tap is being turned off, but in Friesland it is only going to continue.”
Whilst the quake in Opende did not result in any damages being reported, Veenstra says that that’s no reason to be positive: “it is not only about damage, but also a feeling of safety. Stop drilling for gas in our province.”
As reported by the Omrop Fryslan, the group will continue to take its grievances to the authorities, and may even end up at the ‘Raad van State’; the guidance council that represents the role of the Monarchy within the Dutch political system. The Council may then give semi-binding advice to the Dutch government to discontinue gas-extraction in Friesland.
Image via the KNMI