Belgium sees 2 earthquakes within 24 hours

14th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

Belgians experienced two earthquakes over the weekend in Court-Saint-Etienne near Wavers.

14 July 2008

BELGIUM – Two earthquakes shook the ground near Wavers at Walloon Brabant within a period of 24 hours.

The first quake took place in Court-Saint-Etienne on Saturday evening and the second quake on Sunday afternoon at about 4 pm.

It is unusual for an earthquake to occur in Court-Saint-Etienne.  

According to seismologist Michel van Camp of the Belgian Royal Observatory, the first earthquake took place at 7:49 pm and measured 2.1 on the Richter scale.

The second earthquake was stronger and measured 3.6 on the Richter scale.

The epicentre was at an estimated depth of 10.8 kilometres for the first quake, and 9.7 kilometres for the second.

On Saturday evening, about 50 people reported having felt the quake to the Royal Observatory.

More than 1000 earthquakes since 1985
According to historic research, the biggest earthquake to strike Belgium was on 18 September 1692 in Verviers (southern Wallonia) with a magnitude of 6.5 on the Richter scale and was felt as far away as the south of England.

From 1899, the Belgian Royal Observatory acquired proper instruments to measure earthquake.

The heaviest earthquake felt in Belgium since then was in 1938 in Oudenaarde (East Flanders) with a magnitude of 5.6 on the Richter scale.

Following a quite heavy earthquake in Liège on 8 November 1983, a seismological network was upgraded. The system was refined further after false alarms that were caused by rock concerts (The Alarm or U2 for example in Forest National in Brussels).

In the period between 1985 and 2007, 1,106 earthquakes were recorded, 40 of which registered a strength of more than 3.0.

The areas most prone to earthquakes in Belgium are the Ardennes and the east of the country, along the area bordering with Germany and the Netherlands.

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