‘Alarms went off everywhere’: Light earthquake felt in Perpignan

Homes shaken, but no casualties, after evening shockwave

The earthquake was felt around 22:00 last night
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An earthquake hit the southern French city of Perpignan late on Thursday (February 15) evening, with residents feeling the shockwaves and alarms going off.

The epicentre of the earthquake, which registered 2.2 on the Richter scale, was 3 km south of the city centre.

Firefighters received 15 calls from concerned residents but there were no casualties and no buildings were destroyed.

The area also experienced an earthquake of a similar magnitude in December 2023, which measured 2.1 on the scale, however the epicentre was further away from the city so was felt by fewer people.

‘Like our house was moving’

A number of residents told local media about their experiences.

“We felt a short but strong jolt, like a big explosion. It was shocking,” said Jean Lurçat, who lives close to a school in the city, to L’Indépendent.

“We heard a big bang. All the neighbours came out into the street. Car alarms went off. We couldn't see any smoke or broken windows, but the houses shook,” said another resident, Michel.

“All of a sudden, we heard a thud and felt like a shockwave,” said Marie.

“It was crazy, as if the house was moving. We went out into the street, the whole neighbourhood was already outside and the people in the building opposite were all on their balconies,” she added.

Read more: MAP: 4,000 earthquakes a year in France; where, and what risk level?

Less severe repeat of previous earthquake

Marie added that she originally “thought it was an explosion, but I realised it wasn't because I experienced the same thing in 1996 and it did the same thing.”

In 1996, an earthquake of 5.6 on the Richter scale hit close to Perpignan.

There were no casualties, but it did cause over 6 million francs (around €370,000) of damage, including to an old church in the area, which saw its chapter (chapître) nearly destroyed.

More information about last night’s earthquake can be found on the Météo Languedoc Roussillon Facebook page below.

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