North Devon earthquake ‘biggest’ in UK since 2008

This map by the British Geological Survey shows the point of the earthquake. This map by the British Geological Survey shows the point of the earthquake.

Thursday, February 20, 2014
4:31 PM

Seismologists discover new Bristol Channel fault in wake of tremor.

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AN earthquake that struck 11 miles off the North Devon coast this afternoon (Thursday) was the biggest in the UK since 2008.

There have been widespread reports of buildings shaking in the wake of the 4.1 tremor, recorded in the Bristol Channel at 1.21pm.

The British Geological Survey confirmed that the quake struck 18km north of Ilfracombe and 30kn south-west of Swansea, at a depth of five kilometres.

Seismologist Richard Luckett told the Gazette: “It was pretty large for the UK; the phone here has been ringing off the hook since.

“It’s the biggest earthquake recorded in the UK since Market Rasen in Lincolnshire in 2008, which measured 5.2 on the Richter scale and was widely felt.

“Many people will also remember the earthquake at Folkstone in 2007 which measured 4.3.

“It’s quite unusual although we normally see earthquakes this size roughly every two-or-three years.”

Mr Luckett said the earthquake had revealed a new fault that seismologists had been previously unaware of.

He said: “There will be a fault there. We didn’t know about it before but we do now.”

“There is stress on the rock under the UK, and although very small compared to areas next to plate boundaries, every now and again the stress causes the rock to break which in turn causes an earthquake.”

Today’s earthquake appears to have been felt by much of the South West and Wales and many have taken to social media to report what they felt.

North Devon Gazette readers have reported feeling the tremors in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Combe Martin and South Molton, although as yet, there have been no reports of any damage to buildings.

Did you feel the earthquake? Email sarah.howells@archant.co.uk.

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