Basel Rattled by Fourth Quake Linked to Swiss Thermal Drilling

Basel Rattled by Fourth Quake Linked to Swiss Thermal Drilling

Switzerland was shaken by the fourth earthquake in two months linked to geothermal drilling in Basel, the country’s third-largest city, the Swiss Seismological Service said. No injuries or damage was reported.

The epicenter of the 5 a.m. quake was a 5-kilometer-deep (3- mile) borehole drilled in the Kleinhueningen district of Basel in northern Switzerland that borders France and Germany, the seismologists reported today on their Web site.

Since Geopower Basel AG began pumping water into the borehole as part of a study on the commercial feasibility of geothermal energy, four quakes measuring 3.1 to 3.4 on the Richter scale have been felt, said company spokesman Rene Kindhauser.

Geopower stopped pumping activities on Dec. 8 “and on Jan. 23 the local government suspended operations until a risk-analysis could be completed,” Kindhauser said. Basel was severely damaged by a quake in 1356 that scientists estimate was as strong as 6.9.

The Deep Heat Mining study of the feasibility of geothermal energy in Basel, home to Novartis AG, Europe’s No. 3 drugmaker, is being conducted by Geopower and Geothermal Explorers Ltd.

Roche Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of cancer medicines, also is based in Basel.


Share this post