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The earthquake region affecting Germany is the intra-plate rift Rheingraben = Rhine valley rift, especially its section near Cologne (Kölner Bucht).

The most powerful recent quakes were

  • in 1756 at Düren (6.2, two dead)
  • in 1951 at Euskirchen (5.7-5.8, no dead)
  • in 1978 at Onstmettingen (in Baden-Württenberg, 5.7)
  • in 1992 at Roermond/Netherlands (near both Belgium and Germany, 5.9-6.1, no causalties)

The last two deadly quakes were in 1878. Though no 7.0, 6.4 is thought possible near Cologne.

However, I recall reading an article by some geologists critical of the ruling assumption that the central part of the rift zone shifts in a 'lubricated' way -- that assumption is unproven, and that would imply the possibility of strong earthquakes with a low frequency. I.e., what the USA had at New Madrid in 1812 (incidentally the strongest for the contiguous states in recorded history), and China at Tangshan in 1976. Such low-frequency events are definitely missing from risk calculations, especially for high-rises, which haven't been around for long.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 29th, 2008 at 06:27:57 AM EST
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