Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cumbria Earthquake - 21st December 2010

Last night at 10:59pm I was in the best room in the house for reading, yes I was on the toilet when there was a large noise like a heavy goods vehicle passing close by (impossible where I am) and the house shook for a second or two.  This is not the first time I've felt an earthquake in Kendal so I knew what it was straight away and went straight to the Twitter to see whether others had felt the same.

Twitter light up with local's reporting what they felt was an earthquake, wanting confirmation, one posted a picture of a crack that had appeared in his wall.

The US Geological Survey were first to report the quake as a 3.6 in the hills south of Honister Pass, this was later revised once the British Geological Survey data became available to a 3.5 on the scale with the epicenter of Red Gill Head Moss which is 1.5km north of the Coppermine's Youth Hostel near Coniston.

This is the fourth earthquake I've felt in the north west of England, three I've felt when at home in Kendal (including last nights) and one I felt at work in Lytham last year, I had a phone call from a work colleage in Arnside asking if we'd felt the earthquake, at that point we hadn't but within a minute we'd felt a very slight tremor.

We are not near any plates that cause the big quakes you hear about around the world, but Cumbria does have alot of geological fault lines, in an interview on Radio 2 today an Geology expert said that it's not really known why we get these earthquakes but it's thought to be the related to faults created during our last ice age. 

Here I've pull a drawing of the geological faults from Cumbria RIGS and imposed it on a Google maps, you can see how close last nights quake was to a fault line.

Surprisingly we get alot of quakes in the UK but only 10% tend to be felt by the general public, following is a map of all earthquakes detected in the Lake District - yes there are a lot.

Reading from the Keswick sensor

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