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4.8 magnitude earthquake hits northeast France

The shocks were felt yesterday evening, with residents reporting a loud ‘boom’ and shaking. No damage or injuries have been reported

A photo of a Richter scale measuring device with vibration waves drawn

The earthquake measured 4.8 on the Richter scale but no damage was reported Pic: MuhsinRina / Shutterstock

A 4.8 magnitude earthquake has hit eastern France this weekend, with the effects felt as far away as Germany and Switzerland.

Residents felt shaking across Alsace at 17:58 on Saturday, September 10, with the epicentre between Mulhouse and Bâle. 

The epicentre was to the southeast of Mulhouse, 8km away in the Sierentz area (Haut-Rhin). Seismology data on the French seismology website said that two aftershocks also took place, one at 18:08 and another at 18:31. The depth was at around 12km.

No damage or injuries have been reported.

Many residents reported feeling as though the earthquake caused a loud “boom” noise, followed by vibrations and a crunching noise. One wrote on Twitter: “I was scared, everything shook. I thought something had exploded.”

One explained: “First of all I thought it was a huge gust of wind. But then I looked out the window and saw it couldn’t be that.” One wrote: “The roof of my house trembled, and so did my computer screens,”, while another said: “We were a bit scared.”

Another resident wrote: “I thought I was going mad, but no!”, and another even said: “You would have thought that a plane had fallen from the sky.”

Emergency services in Bas-Rhin (SIS 67) reported that they received several calls but none required any intervention. They even reminded residents not to call unless there was a genuine emergency.

Mayor of Mulhouse, Michèle Lutz, told France 3 that for the moment, there had been no reports of victims or major damage. She said: “There was a bit of panic, which is normal. But we are staying vigilant, with the prefecture, and the emergency services.”

The effects of the earthquake were also felt in Territoire de Belfort, Vosges, Doubs, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Ain, Franche-Comté, Lorraine, Switzerland, and Germany.

The Haut-Rhin prefecture said: “Along with the Alpes, Provence, and the Pyrenees, Alsace is one of the regions of mainland France where seismic activity is most likely, especially in the southern area.”

And yet, one Twitter user said that despite being in the affected area, they did not feel much. One joked: “I missed my very first earthquake, I’m furious!”

The last earthquake effects to be felt in the area were on July 9, 2022. The epicentre of that incident was in Germany.

The most significant earthquake in the region’s history was reported in 1356, when a major quake, estimated to have been of 6.6 magnitude, destroyed the town of Bâle.

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