Over 120 damage reports after latest Groningen quake

A total of 127 damage reports were received after a fracking earthquake in Groningen on Sunday morning, the temporary committee that handles mining damage in Groningen TCMG said. Six of the reports were of acutely dangerous damage. According to the committee, it is difficult to say how much of the reported damage is the direct result of the earthquake, NOS reports.

The epicenter of the quake was in Garrelsweer, close to Loppersum. The earthquake had a magnitude of 2.5, and was therefore one of the stronger ones to hit the province, according to meteorological institute KNMI. 

Loppersum is often the epicenter of earthquakes caused by gas extraction in the province of Groningen. On May 22nd a 3.4 magnitude earthquake happened in Westerwijtwerd, which falls under the municipality of Loppersum. The TCMG is still receiving reports of damage caused by that earthquake. By Sunday the counter stood at 4,832 reports, according to RTL Nieuws. 

Usually the TCMG receives around 200 damage reports per week. Over the past two weeks, the committee received at least 200 reports per day. "The increase in the number of reports after the earthquake in Westerwijtwerd still continues", a TCMG spokesperson said to RTL. According to the committee, this may have to do with a parliamentary debate on gas extraction that is scheduled for Tuesday. 

Residents of the Garrelsweer area spoke of a "major earthquake" to RTV Noord. "I woke from two bangs, one hard and one soft. The bedroom door started to crack", Jan Chris Wagenaar, chairman of the Garrelsweer Earthquake Action Team, said to the regional broadcaster. "It makes you a little lethargic. So I just turned around and looked at the damage later in the morning." According to Wagenaar, the cracks that were already in his walls are bigger after the latest quake. The same is true for his neighbors.

The earthquake also led to a flood of upset reactions on Twitter. "Here we go again" a resident of Appingedam tweeted. "The entire house shook and cracked." Another: "Two loud thumps in a row, like someone slammed a door really angry and really loudly. I startled awake confused." And: "I nearly fell out of bed. What an earthquake!!"

Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs called the earthquake "intense for the residents who were again frightened by a quake and possibly have to deal with damage again."

The strongest earthquake ever to hit Groningen was in Huizinge in 2012, with a magnitude of 3.6. In January last year, the province was hit by a 3.4 magnitude earthquake, also in the municipality of Loppersum. Some 3 thousand damage reports were received after that quake. That earthquake was partly responsible for the government deciding to gradually reduce gas extraction in the province to zero. The goal is to reduce gas extraction by half in 2022, and to zero by 2030.

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