• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Provence and Riviera hit by 5.2 magnitude quake

Ben McPartland · 8 Apr 2014, 09:06

Published: 08 Apr 2014 09:06 GMT+02:00

The earth moved in south-eastern France at around 9.30pm on Monday night when an earthquake measuring 5.19 on the Richter scale shook the region for around 15 seconds.

The epicentre of the earthquake was said to be in the Alps-des-Hautes-Provence at a point around 7km from the town of Châteauroux, 8km from d’Embrun and 10km from the village Barcelonnette, according to France’s National Earthquake Surveillance Network (Renass).

According to Le Parisien, the quake was felt the strongest in Barcolonnette, which was left with minor damage, but also in towns and cities from Nice to Marseille as well as Gap, Briançon and Grenoble.

SEE ALSO: Why the Riviera earthquake is a warning to France

“We had around 50 calls from the public,” said Colonel Thierry Carret from the fire and rescue service in Alps-de-Haute-Provence. “We are currently carrying out checks. They are no reports of injuries, but there are reports of cracks in walls, broken chimneys and falling tiles.”

Scientist François Thouvenot from an earthquake surveillance network in Grenoble told Le Parisien that a quake on this scale in the south east of France normally occurs "only once every 30 years". 

Although there were no reports of an injuries or serious damage, many in the region were left in shock at the unexpected tremor.

“The ground trembled beneath our feet,” said Patrick Vayé, from the town of Cannes-La Bocca. “I was afraid of an aftershock so we quickly left the house in case the roof collapsed.”

Another witness from Nice told Europe1 radio: “I had a hollow feeling in the stomach, which lasted quite a long time. I felt jerky and tiny when faced with such a phenomenon."

According to experts from Renass, inhabitants of south-eastern France should not have been shocked by the quake.

“It’s not a surprise. It’s a zone known by all the seismology labs in the region,” Renass said.

Seismic activity in the area is common due to the coming together of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates that gave rise to the creation of the Alps. “Today the plates move constantly,” said Renass.

This map from the European-Mediterranean Seismology Centre, based in Paris shows the latest quakes around the world in the last 24 hours, including the 5.2 magnitude tremor in Provence.

Story continues below…

This is not the first time parts of France havebeen unexpectedly hit by an earthquake. In November last year The Local reported how Brittany was hit by a 4.5-magnitude earthquake that some locals said felt like "an explosion".

In December last year a report was published which stated that France is dangerously unprepared for the natural disasters, including earthquakes, that most of the country is exposed to. (For more on this click on the link below)

France 'unprepared' for future natural disasters

Did you feel Monday's earthquake? If so let us know below or on our Facebook page through the link below.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'I feel no guilt': French boss defends €2.5m salary hike
"I earn this much". Peugeot Citroen boss Carlos Tavares defends his salary. Photo: AFP

The boss of French car giant Peugeot says he feels no guilt over his €2.5million salary rise and the criticism is all part of his pay packet.

Nine must-see landmarks in Paris you may have missed
Photo: AFP

You've seen the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame Cathedral. So what next?

Cap on EU roaming charges set to kick in
Photo: zoetnet/Flickr

EU mobile users will soon be calling from Alicante to Zagreb at lower prices.

UK pair charged with funding Paris attacks suspect
Photo: Police

Two UK nationals have been charged with handing over to cash to a suspect in the Paris terror attacks.

Paris makes love-lock bridge even more love-lock proof
Photo: Michel Gauret/No Love Locks

Good luck attaching a love lock now.

France gets tough on Muslim footballers praying on pitch
Archive photo of Muslims praying on a sports pitch in France. Photo: AFP

Authorities in the Riviera city of Nice are cracking down on Muslims praying on their football pitches, arguing it is against France's Republican principles.

What's on in France: Ten great things to do in May
Photo: AFP

Events to keep you entertained as summer approaches.

Labour reform protests
Who are the masked rioters causing havoc in France?
Photos: AFP

Who's smashing up shops, banks, and bus stops - and attacking the French police force?

Defending 'monsters': Meet Abdeslam's French lawyer
Frank Berton, lawyer to suspected Paris terror attacker Salah Abdeslam. Photo: AFP

Even terrorists need a lawyer. And the Frenchman defending Salah Abdeslam says he hesitated to take the job.

Dozens more held after violent clashes in Paris
Photos: AFP

Another 24 people were arrested in Paris overnight, following a day of protests that left two dozen police officers injured.

Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
Society
Protesters clash with police over France's new labour laws
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
French dangerously 'unprepared' for future natural disasters
Is it really safe to come to France for Euro 2016?
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
National
Salah Abdeslam: Pot-smoking 'little moron' is finally back in Paris
Society
PICTURES: Snow falls in Paris... at the end of April?
Rail strike: Passengers in France face major disruption
Cats in a cafe?!? Nine of the quirkiest things you can see in Paris
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
VIDEO: The moment a Paris suicide bomber blew himself up
National
Why there's another rail strike in France and why there will be more
National
Winter is coming (back). Why is France so cold right now?
National
WWI's Anzac Day heroes honoured in northern France service
Lifestyle
VIDEO: Did you know all these stars spoke great French?
Culture
How did the French end up with their 'crazy' numbers?
Politics
Why this man could become the next president of France
Society
VIDEO: Jewellers in southern France raided by... swarm of bees
Culture
Did you know the strange origins of these six French curse words?
Why are more and more people dying on French roads?
National
VIDEO: Mass street brawl erupts at Paris migrant camp
Culture
Film 'Chocolat' highlights taboo of race problem in French cinema
Society
British people have been urged to come to France... and to get naked
Culture
15 reasons Clermont-Ferrand is the best place in France
National
Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
Culture
Steven Spielberg and Jodie Foster top star-studded Cannes cast
2,776
jobs available