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Earthquake Impact Assessed by University of Leicester Geologist

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service attending to earthquake related damage to a chimney of a house in Leicester. Image courtesy Dr Richard England, Department of Geology, University of Leicester

Earthquake Impact Assessed by University of Leicester Geologist

Researchers assess UK's largest earthquake in nearly 25 years.

Image: Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service attending to earthquake related damage to a chimney of a house in Leicester. Image courtesy Dr Richard England, Department of Geology, University of Leicester

The largest earthquake for nearly 25 years was felt widely across the UK early this morning. The magnitude 5.3 event, which had its epicentre a few km north of Market Rasen in Lincolnshire struck just before 1 am this morning. In Leicester there was minor damage to buildings and numerous calls to the emergency services, mostly from people alarmed by the earthquake which lasted for about 10 seconds.

Dr Richard England, Lecturer in Geophysics and Head of SEIS-UK, Department of Geology at the University of Leicester, said: “The ‘quake is the largest since the magnitude 5.4 event which occurred on the Lleyn Penninsular in North Wales in 1984. The most recent events to occur in the Midlands were the Magnitude 5.0 event which occurred in Dudley in October 2002 and caused minor damage, and the 4.1 event which occurred near Melton Mowbray in 2001.

“A minor aftershock has been recorded by the British Geological Survey (www.bgs.ac.uk). Such aftershocks are not unusual but further events are usually of lower magnitude and unlikely to be felt or have any effects on property.

“Earthquakes of this magnitude occur in the UK between every 20 to 30 years. While it is not possible to predict the exact timing or location of earthquakes, by studying the frequency at which earthquakes of particular magnitudes occur it is possible to state that an earthquake of a particular magnitude is likely to occur within a given period of time. The UK is struck by tens to hundreds of minor earthquakes each year but most are so weak that they are only detected by seismometers. Although the UK does not lie on a tectonic plate boundary, where most earthquakes occur, stresses build up in the crust beneath the UK because it is trapped and being shortened slightly between the mid-Atlantic ridge and the Alpine mountain range.”

NOTE TO NEWSDESK:

For more information contact-

Dr Richard England, Lecturer in Geophysics and Head of SEIS-UK. Department of Geology, University of Leicester. Tel: 0116 252 3795. Email: rwe5@le.ac.uk.

SEIS-UK is part of the Natural Environment Research Council’s Geophysical Equipment Facility. It supports academic research in seismology in the UK and overseas.

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