Hardest earthquake in five years hits Groningen

Milieudefensie and Groningen residents dump fracking earthquake rubble in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague, 26 Oct 2017
Milieudefensie and Groningen residents dump fracking earthquake rubble in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague, 26 Oct 2017. Photo: @milieudefensie / Twitter

A 3.4-magnitude earthquake rattled the province of Groningen on Monday afternoon. There were no immediate damage reports of note following Monday 3 p.m. quake, which had an epicenter near Zeerijp and could be felt at least 10 kilometers away, the KNMI meteorology agency said.

Broadcaster RTV Noord said those in its Europapark, Groningen offices 20 kilometers away could also feel the ground shake.

Attorney Dennis Woudsma said on Twitter it felt as though the building he was in creaked loudly and then began violently shaking as though someone had grabbed it.

"Only the Dutch can fight the ocean and create their own Earthquakes! (my tea was dancing!)" wrote another Twitter user.

It was the strongest earthquake in the area since one registered 3.6 on the Richter scale in Huizinge in 2012. Hundreds of damage reports were filed in the aftermath of the incident over five years ago. 

KNMI categorized Monday's earthquake as "induced," suggesting it was caused by the the removal of fossil fuels in the area. The region has faced a spate of earthquakes as a result of natural gas extraction there.

One MP, Henk Nijboer, an economist from Groningen, called on more efforts to be done by the government and its fossil fuels firm NAM to end gas extraction and provide repairs and assistance to those in need.

The earthquake was the sixth registered in the area of Zeerijp in just over five weeks.

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