Earthquake hits Groningen on same day as gov't announces timetable for reinforcement operation
The province of Groningen was hit by a second earthquake in as many days during the early hours of Tuesday morning. The quake had a magnitude of 3.2 and hit near Garrelsweer at around 1:46 a.m., according to meteorological institute KNMI. On Tuesday, the Cabinet also announced its timetable for reinforcing homes in the earthquake zone.
According to RTV Noord, this is one of the strongest quakes to hit the province since 2019. Hundreds of people reported feeling the quake to the broadcaster. The earthquake was felt all the way to the city of Groningen. A resident of Bedum described a "violent vibration, with creaking windows. A rumbling sound and a sudden thump and the windows shook."
On Monday, there was another earthquake in Groningen. This one's epicenter was near Bladel, and it registered a 2.6 in the Richter scale.
According to the KNMI, both earthquakes were "induced." Which means they were caused by gas extraction in the province.
On Tuesday, the Cabinet published plans to inspect and reinforce the homes in the earthquake zone in Groningen. The Ministry of Home Affairs expects that about half of the 27,000 homes that must still be checked will have to be reinforced, Minister Kajsa Ollongren wrote to parliament. Residents must receive clarity about what will happen to their homes by 2023 at the latest. And all reinforcement work must be done by 2028.
The agreements about the timetable are "a milestone," said Ollongren. "In recent years, the planning has changed too often, and that has damaged the confidence of residents in the earthquake area. This plan helps the reinforcement operation move forward."
In 2018, the Cabinet decided to gradually stop extracting natural gas in Groningen. Gas extraction has now fallen to a level deemed safe by the State Supervision of Mines (SodM). The gas installations in Groningen are scheduled to go into a pilot flame setting next year, from when they'll only be used in very cold winters.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times