earthquakes in the Netherlands

Gas drilling () by Shell and ExxonMobil in Groningen gas field (the Netherlands) causing destructive earthquakes.

Gas drilling has similarities with fracking, also causing shallow earthquakes.

About this animation

This animation tries to show the quakes in Groningen via two ways: visually (red dots). The bigger the quake, the bigger the dot. And via sound: every beep represents a quake and the higher the beep, the heavier the quake.

IF a quake is above 3.4 a hotel bell rings, and also this will be noted in the time line.


On May 29, 1959 the NAM (= Shell and ExxonMobil) discovered the first Groningen gas in Kolham (Slochteren, the Netherlands / Holland). The Groningen field covers an area of approximately 900 km2, lies at a depth of 3,000 m and the thickness of the gas-containing layer is about 100 meters. Here you will find information about the earthquakes in Groningen . Since about 2012 the earthquakes caused by the gas exploitation increase in number and strength. The epicenter of all shocks is at about Loppersum and Huizinge. The expectation is that the quakes will get stronger.

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Time line of the gas exploitation of Groningen gas field and resulting earth quakes in Groningen, the Netherlands

Audio: ‘Do you have any idea how many gas quakes we've had thus far in 2017?’ – Prime minister: ‘I don't have the latest figures.’


Van der Sluis (geographer): ‘Gas extraction could result in quakes.’


Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI): ‘That wasn’t a quake, that was a plane breaking through the sound barrier.’


Attention: Some quakes are audible but not visible on the map.

1988 – 1990

‘Gas extraction could cause quakes’ (Shell-Exxon = ‘NAM’).

‘Quakes up to M3 possible’ (MIT).


As early as 1991 houses started to collapse (discovered by Dutch radio program Argos, 2013).

end 1993

Expert panel: ‘Sometimes, earthquakes are the result of gas extraction.’


Van der Sluis (geographer): ‘Shell-ExxonMobil is stalling.’

feb 19th 1997

Earthquake at Roswinkel, M 3.4 / 3 km depth, very shallow.


Shell + ExxonMobil = NAM (‘Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij’).


‘Quakes probably caused by gas extraction’ (KNMI, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute).


Earthquake at Alkmaar, M 3.5.

aug 11th 2003

KNMI, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute: ‘The relation between gas extraction and earthquakes is not coincidental.’

aug 8th 2006

Earthquake M 3.5 / 3 km, triangle Middelstum, Stedum, Westeremden.

oct 30th 2008

NOS (Dutch public broadcaster): ‘Perhaps it is just the frost causing this?’

feb 18th 2009

‘Last year, the amount of gas sold abroad reached a record high.’ (NOS, Dutch public broadcaster).

jun 28th 2011

Houses in Groningen damaged as a result of earthquake.

aug 16th 2012

Again, Groningen is hit by a severe quake (Huizinge, M 3.6 / 3 km depth, very shallow).

jan 26th 2013

Researchers: ‘Earthquakes stronger when more gas is extracted’. Shell-ExxonMobil: ‘Acceptable risk.’

sep 5th 2013

‘Annual risk of earthquakes > M 3.9 is 7%. Advice: rapid reduction.’

sep 4th 2013

Quake North of Groningen, M 2.8, 3 km depth, very shallow.

dec 30th 2013

In 2013, ExxonMobil and Shell extracted twice the amount of gas from the ground than they agreed they would.

sep 30th 2014

First earthquake close to the city of Groningen (200,000 inhabitants).


At least 1350 monu­ments are dama­ged.


100.000 house owners report damage.

6 apr 2017

“Gro­nin­ger Bo­dem Be­we­ging” (GBB) vi­sits UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil in Ge­n­eva.

jan 8th 2018

Again, Groningen is hit by a severe quake (Zee­rijp, M 3.4 / 3 km depth, very shallow).

may 22th 2019

Again, Groningen is hit by a severe quake (Wes­ter­wijt­werd, M 3.4 / 3 km depth, very shallow).

In the background you see images of (heavily) damaged buildings.

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