By Dan Oancea - Twitter


The head of a geothermal energy company has gone on trial in Switzerland accused of damaging property by triggering earthquakes.

Markus Haering's company had been working with the authorities in Basel to try to convert the heat in deep-seated rocks into electricity.

But the project was suspended in 2006 when drilling triggered the quakes.

They caused no injuries but led to $9m (£5.54m) of damage. Mr Haering denies deliberately damaging property.

The project was shut down permanently last week after a government study found that similar quakes caused by the project would lead to millions of dollars worth of damage each year reports BBC.


Back in 2007 I wrote a series of four short articles dealing with Man-Made Earthquakes and I ended by saying that:

“If the chosen location is close to a city, dam or mine, while the targeted ‘hot rock’ lies at a depth of 5 km or more, in a well known seismically active (faulted) zone, chances are that your innocent looking injection hole would trigger a swarm of earthquakes. And you could be held responsible for that. Not to mention that the local population would withdraw their support to your project and will do whatever it takes to get your operations closed for good.

While dealing with an increased pressure to find green, renewable, alternative power sources all geoscientists should always bear in mind their profession’s core values: the safety, health and welfare of the public and environment.”


Well, it didn’t take long and the geologist in charge with the project went on trial. Fortunately for him the judges decided that his company didn’t set out deliberately to do damages and was acquitted. Bear in mind that that’s Switzerland not Canada where the outcome might have been totally different considering that a professional has a legal responsibility to protect life and property.

Further your knowledge and read at least the III and IV of my short articles – links are listed below.