Friday 6 April 2012

Southwest Poland hit by Earthquake.

On Friday 6 April 2012 slightly after 8.40 am local time (slightly after 6.40 am GMT) hit the Silesian town of Lubin in southwest Poland. The quake was measured as having a magnitude of 4.4 on the Richter Scale, and occurring at a depth of 4.9 km by the United States Geological Survey. There are no reports of any casualties or serious damage at this time.

The location of the 6 April quake. USGS.

The quake struck about 20 km from the Rudna Copper Mine, which has been affected by a number of similar events in recent years. In December 2010 a quake killed 3 miners in the Rudna Mine, and a further 10 injured. There were 17 miners underground at Rudna when the 6 April quake struck, but none were injured, though apparently the quake was felt in the mine. It has been suggested that the Rudna Mine could in some way be connected to the recent series of quakes in southwest Poland, though no mechanism as to how this could occur has been proposed.

Loading ore at the Rudna Mine. KGHM.

A more likely explanation is that like most European quakes the southwest Polish quakes have been caused by the impact of Africa and Eurasia. Africa is slowly moving northward, pressing into Europe. This more usually leads to quakes in southern and southeastern Europe, and uplift in the Alps, but can cause quakes further north on the continent, and such quakes will often come in clusters as movement on one part of a fault leads to increased pressure on another part.

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