Paris: An earthquake measuring between 5.0 and 5.2 on the open-ended Richter Scale rocked parts of southwest France on Thursday.
The earthquake`s epicenter was located near the towns of La Rochelle and Rochefort in the French region of Charente-Maritime.
The epicenter was said to be approximately eight kilometers southeast of La Rochelle, which is a port on the Bay of Biscay with a population of just over 75,000. It struck at 8.45 a.m. local time at a depth of 15 kilometers, the Daily Express and RT News websites reported.
There are no reports of any damage so far, but witnesses said they felt two strong tremors that lasted several seconds. Buildings, including industrial sites and schools in La Rochelle were evacuated.On Monday, an earthquake of a lesser magnitude struck Austria near its capital Vienna.
The quake measured 4.4 on the Richter scale.Earthquakes in the area are rare, but geologists have warned that Vienna runs the risk of being struck by a large quake in the future. An active fault line runs deep under the Vienna Basin, which covers the city`s area, as well as parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
According to one expert, geologist, Dr. Kurt Decker from the University of Vienna, the Vienna Basin has about six known fault lines, which are moving at a very slow rate.He added that every 20,000 years or so, these fault lines are capable of causing an earthquake on the scale of 6.0 or 7.0 on the Richter scale.The last time France was hit by a deadly earthquake was in 1909, when the town of Lambesc near Marseille was struck by a magnitude-6 tremor, which killed 46 people and injured a further 250.