Roermond Netherlands 1992 (CAR)
On Monday 13th April 1992, at 03:20 local time, an earthquake of moment magnitude 5.4 and focal depth of 15 km struck the Roer River Valley on the southern border region between the Netherlands and Germany.
Seismicity in the Netherlands is mainly confined to active faults in the south of the country. These faults are part of the Roer Valley Rift System, the north-western extension of the Rhine rift system in Germany.
The main shock’s epicentre (51.15°N, 5.93°E) was very near the town of Roermond in the Netherlands inhabited by 43,000 people and ground shaking was felt over an area larger than 600,000 km2 between the Czech republic, Switzerland, France and England.
This was the strongest seismic event in the Netherlands in 100 years. Its maximum observed intensity, was I0 = VII. In the USGS EXPO-CAT database it is estimated that during this earthquake 91,000 people were exposed to intensity VII, of which around 35% were in rural areas.
A 79-year-old woman in Bonn died of a heart attack apparently brought on by the tremor and 45 people were reported injured (mostly due to falling debris as they were evacuating buildings). Had the earthquake taken place during the day-time the number of casualties would have been far greater.
Damage was light to moderate with unreinforced brick masonry buildings constructed prior to 1920 suffering a greater rate of damage.
Worst affected was the small town of Herkenbosch in Limbourg province, Netherlands (population 4,000), where a medieval church appeared near collapse.
According to a survey carried-out by the EEFIT team in 38 towns and villages in the affected region (excl. Herkenbosch), the worst damage was observed in Oserbruch, about 4 km east of Heinsberg, Germany. In an area of 10 km around Heinsberg more than 30% of the old masonry buildings had been damaged, though not severely. In Holland's Roermond town many historic buildings were damaged.
The earthquake caused significant damage to Heinsberg, a German town of 36,000 near the border with Holland. A police spokesman said 21 people were injured by falling debris, four of them seriously, and about 150 buildings were damaged. A 400-kilogram piece of stone fell through the roof of the 13th century cathedral in Cologne.
In total fewer than 100 buildings were badly damaged and would probably have to be rebuilt, while around 1300 buildings had light to moderate damage.
The total cost of the earthquake in Holland and Germany was estimated by Munich Re at 206 million US$ including around 30 million US$ insured damage. Damage in Holland was estimated to cost 127 million €.
21 people injured in Heinsberg (Germany) of which 4 seriously
A case of heart attack in Bonn (Germany)
Source 1: Around 75 buildings in Herkenbosch (Holland) were seriously damaged, as they had four types of damage (damage to front and rear walls, damage to the gable wall and damage to side walls. Not mentioned if any of these buildings would have to be demolished.
Source 2: Among 150 damaged buildings in Heinsberg (Germany) some were in acute danger of collapse.
Excl. the less than 100 buildings estimated to have been damaged beyond repair.
Around 500 buildings damaged in Herkenbosch (Holland), 150 buildings damaged in Heinsberg (Germany), 722 buildings with damage level D1 (615), D2 (102) and D3 (5) in the surveys by Pappin el al (1993) - see damage study.
Estimated number of people living in houses that would have to be demolished based on the damage statistics.
120 million US$ in Germany
50 million US$ in the Netherlands
6 million US$ in Belgium
Excl. insured losses in Germany.
Insured loss reported in Germany. Netherlands and Belgium insured losses not known.