Saturday, April 28, 2007

Earthquake in southern England? ? ?

Both the BBC and the Daily Mail are reporting that an earthquake with a Richter magnitude of 4.7 struck in the Dover Straits at 8:18 AM local time (3:18 EDT). According to the BBC story,

The British Geological Survey has measured the epicentre as being approximately 8.6 miles (14km) south of Dover, out in the English Channel. Dr Roger Musson, of the British Geological Survey, said the earthquake was "not exceptionally large" for Britain.

More than 100 emergency calls were made to the Fire and Rescue Service in Kent, according to the story in the Daily Mail. In addition to minor structural damage, gas smells have been reported. A gas company spokesman quoted by the BBC remarked that the smells may be from natural gas brought up by the earthquake although the company is also checking their lines for hazardous ruptures.

UPDATE (11:15 EDT): The British Geological Survey is reporting a local magnitude (ML) of 4.3 for the quake and notes that this is the largest earthquake in southern England since a magnitude 4.4 ML event in 1950. Significant earthquakes also struck the Dover Straits in 1776, 1580, and 1382, the latter had an approximate magnitude of 5.7 ML and reportedly caused damage in London. Earthquakes of this size occur in mainland UK roughly every 7-8 years and are somewhat more common in offshore areas.

The following information is currently being reported on the BGS webpage:

    DATE : 28 April 2007

    ORIGIN TIME : 07:18 10.0s UTC

    LAT/LONG : 50.97º North / 1.38º East

    GRID REF : 636.9 kmE / 124.4 kmN

    DEPTH : 5.0 km

    MAGNITUDE : 4.3 ML


    LOCALITY : Dover Straits, 14km south of Dover

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