July 20, 2005

Heavy rain causes earth tremors in German Alps

BERLIN (Reuters) - Heavy rain has caused a series of earth
tremors at the foot of the German Alps, Bavarian Environment
Minister Werner Schnappauf said Wednesday.

"Scientists had long suspected a connection between heavy
rainfall and clusters of small quakes in this part of the
Alps," he said in a statement. "The proof is a small sensation
among experts."

More than 30 tremors have been recorded beneath the
Hochstaufen mountain in Bavaria since Friday, most of which
will not have been noticed by residents, according to the
ministry. The strongest had a magnitude of 2.7 on the Richter

The tremors were probably caused by the rain dissolving
salty stone inside the mountain, a ministry official said.