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684 Irish Sea?


The location of this earthquake is very ill-determined, sources giving "Ibernia", "Eubonia" (Isle of Man) and "Brittannia". This does not necessarily mean the event was felt in Ireland, Isle of Man and Britain as these may be alternative readings of the same account. Iona has also been suggested (Anderson 1973). An epicentre in the Irish Sea seems on balance the most likely interpretation.


An earlier event in 680 in Ireland is mentioned in the Annals of Clonmacnoise in connection with a storm. Perhaps this was a bog-burst rather than a genuine earthquake. In many of these early events one cannot be fully sure that a real earthquake is being alluded to. This applies to the 684 event as well, and there is a certain amount of arbitrary decision-making to include the event of 684 as probably > 4 ML while excluding events like that of 680 in Ireland or 740 in Islay.


974 England


Supposedly felt all over England; a remote and non-contemporary source (Goutoulas 1653) states that houses were thrown down and people were killed, otherwise nothing else is known about this event.


1 May 1048 Midlands


Felt at Worcester, Warwick and Derby, among other places.


4 July 1060 England


Described as "great" or "general".


22 April 1076 North Sea?


Widely felt in England; epicentre uncertain. Possibly felt in France and Denmark, suggesting a North Sea epicentre. Date is given by many sources as 27 March, possibly in confusion with the next event.


27 March 1081 Brabant


Epicentre vague, possibly near Lige. Probably felt in SE England, but there is no precise information. Houtgast (1992) gives an estimated magnitude of 6 for this event.


11 August 1089 England


William of Malmesbury writes that "all buildings were lifted up, then settled again as before", which does not indicate any damage. It is described as "very great" and "throughout England" by Roger de Hoveden.


28 August 1119 W England


Described as greatest in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.


25 July 1122 SW England


Felt throughout Somerset and Gloucestershire.


5 December 1129 England


Described as "great" by the Anglo-Saxon chronicle, but not widely mentioned; its significance is therefore debatable.


4 August 1133 England


An eye-witness account exists from Malmesbury (intensity about 5 on one observation only) and the earthquake is described as affecting many parts of England. A curious account exists (by John of Hexham) of the king's ships on the south coast (probably at Portsmouth) being moved by an unknown force on 2 August. If this date is wrong, it could indicate that the shock was strong in the south of England. The epicentre was thus probably in the west or south of England.


1 May 1158 England


Felt in many places in England.


26 January 1165 East Anglia


This event was felt in Ely, Norfolk and Suffolk. People lost their balance and bells were made to ring, so the maximum intensity may have been as high as 6 MSK.


15 April 1185 E England/North Sea


This is the first earthquake for which there are reliable descriptions of damage, albeit general ("stone houses were thrown down") except in the case of Lincoln cathedral, which was badly damaged. It is clear that this was one of the more destructive earthquakes in Britain at this period. Maximum intensity is unclear, but probably at least 8 MSK.


The damage to Lincoln cathedral has caused this earthquake to be characterised as having a Lincolnshire epicentre, but this is by no means certainly the case. Davison's (1931) suggestion of a North Sea epicentre is attractive, but anywhere from the Dogger Bank to the Midlands, or further north, remains a possibility. Possibly the earthquake was not felt in London, since Matthew Paris says of the 13 February 1247 event that it was the first earthquake felt in England (!) since 1133.


January 1199 Scotland


According to Fleming (1580) earthquakes shook Scotland daily from 6 January up to February, "to the great ruine of many buildings". This may indicate activity at Comrie, the Ochil Hills or even Inverness. An Italian source (Girardi 1653) gives the year as 1202, but the description is obviously the same.


23 April 1228 England


Felt in many parts of England.


20 February 1247 Wales


This earthquake was evidently one of the most severe to have affected the British Isles, and damage seems to have been widespread. Matthew Paris states that it was felt especially at London, and there mostly on the banks of the Thames, but according to Annales Cambriae it damaged the cathedral at St David's, Pembrokeshire, on the other side of the country. Another source (O'Hinnse 1947) states that it was felt in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The only other named place where the earthquake is mentioned is Holywell, Cheshire. Rockfalls are also attributed to this event at unspecified places.


As usual, the epicentre is obscure. Locating it at Pembroke on the strength of the damage to St David's is over-precise, but an epicentre in Wales seems probable. Paris's remark about the Thames suggests that effects in London may have been enhanced by soil effects, and London was probably relatively remote from the epicentre.


Considering that the damage is said to have been extensive, and that the earthquake was felt in all four countries of the British Isles, this was probably one of the largest British earthquakes on record, with a magnitude perhaps in excess of 5 ML.


21 December 1248 SW England


This earthquake evidently affected chiefly the south-west of England. Much discussion has taken place about the reported damage to Wells cathedral, described to Matthew Paris by the Bishop of Bath (William of Bytton). This was the fall of the tholus, apparently some large stone decoration in the course of erection above the nave, or possibly the lantern of the central tower. This report is somewhat undermined by the facts that (a) the chapter records make no mention of the earthquake; (b) Bishop Bytton was in Rome at the time and (c) modern examinations of the fabric have shown no trace of the damage to the stonework.


Apart from what happened at Wells cathedral, it is said that the tops of chimneys, parapets and pillars were thrown down, and that large cracks appeared in walls (at unspecified places) suggesting a maximum intensity in the range 7-8 MSK. The earthquake was probably also felt at Exeter (Polwhele 1793).


11 September 1275 S England


This earthquake follows the pattern for the larger earthquakes of this period - general reports that damage was widespread and specific mention of one church, in this case St Michael's on the Tor, at Glastonbury, which was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt. Beyond that, the earthquake was felt at London, Canterbury and Winchester, and in Wales. One report (Annales Wintonia) states that it was felt across the sea; this may indicate France (not confirmed by French sources) or confusion with some distant event.


The damage to one very anomalous building at Glastonbury in Somerset (perched at the top of a narrow conical hill) cannot be used to infer intensity or epicentre. However, the report that houses and churches in many places in England were thrown down suggests a maximum intensity greater than 7 MSK. It is also reported by one source (Annales Oseneia) that people were killed. This is the only contemporary report of earthquake fatalities in Britain before 1580.


Possibly the epicentre was in the Portsmouth/Chichester area (S coast of England); such a location would agree well with the limited data available.


4 January 1299 SE England


This event is described as felt throughout Kent (including Canterbury) and Middlesex (including Hampton), and causing the partial collapse of the church of St Andrew's, Hitchin, Hertfordshire (Hine, nd). However, documentation is poor, and rests largely on secondary sources quoting from unnamed or lost originals. The epicentre was probably in Hertfordshire or Middlesex. The date is given by some sources as 5 January.


14 November 1318 England


This is described by some sources as one of the most violent ever experienced in England, but apart from that, nothing is known about it.


28 March 1343 North Sea/E England


This earthquake was felt principally in Lincolnshire; in the north of which stones fell from chimneys. It was not felt at Oxford; the first specific report of a British earthquake not being felt at a given place (Merle nd). It is possible that the epicentre was offshore.


27 March 1349 North Sea/E England


Possibly this is a confusion with the preceding event, but different times are given. The monks at Meaux Abbey, Beverley, Yorkshire, were thown from their stalls by the violence of the shock. It was said to have been felt throughout the whole of England - this may be an exaggeration considering the lack of other data. But it may have still been a significant earthquake, again, perhaps with an offshore epicentre, and is thus included here.


21 May 1382 Dover Straits


Documentation for this event is quite good, both in England and in the Low Countries, allowing an epicentre in the Dover Straits to be fixed with reasonably certainty. In addition to the usual vague accounts of damage at unamed localities, there are some details of damage at Canterbury and Hollingbourne in Kent, and at London (minor). The earthquake is famous for disrupting a Council meeting in London held to condemn the doctrines of John Wycliffe; both sides claiming the earthquake as a mark of Divine displeasure against the other side. It also inspired an early English poem describing the event:


... Chaumbres, chymeneys, al to-barst,

Chirches and castelles foule gon fare;

Pinacles, steples, to ground hit cast;

And al was for warnyng to be ware.


are the lines describing the damage. The extent to which the earthquake was felt north and west of London (where the intensity was probably 6 MSK) is unknown but was probably extensive, and the magnitude of the earthquake probably exceeded 5 ML.


Sources: Melville (1982), BGS material.


24 May 1382 Dover Straits


Aftershock of the above; caused effects on water in Kent harbours and probably exceeded 4 ML.


23 April 1449 Flanders


This earthquake was felt in Canterbury, and SE England generally, and in the Low Countries where it was especially severe in the Bruges district. Previous studies are divided as to whether the epicentre was in the Dover Straits or on the Continent. The latter solution is preferred here.


Sources: Ambraseys & Melville (1983), Houtgast (1992), BGS material.


28 December 1480 Norfolk


Described by Blomefield (1745) as "a very great earthquake in Norwich and Norfolk, and almost all over England, by which many buildings were shaken down, and much damage done in many places". A further shock followed on 21 December 1487, this time reported only from Norwich.


19 September 1508 North Sea


This earthquake, unusually, was felt throughout both Scotland and England, but without any reports of higher intensity effects than that churches shook violently. A likely explanation is that the epicentre was in the Northern North Sea and that the earthquake was similar to the 19 January 1927 event (historical sources for Norway are deficient for this period). The year of this earthquake is given in one source as 1509.


July 1534 North Wales


The evidence for this event is rather slender. An old MS of Welsh poetry (Nat. Lib. Wales MS 436-B f38b) mentions without details an earthquake in 1534. In addition, Ware (1662) states that an earthquake was felt in Dublin in July 1534 before the murder of Bishop of Dublin, John Allen (on 28 July 1534). Local earthquakes in Ireland are very rare (the scarcity of earthquakes in Ireland is even mentioned by Ware in this connection) and so it is plausible that this observation was the backwash of an earthquake in North Wales celebrated by the poem (the MS probably has a North Wales provenance). Alternatively, the epicentre could have been in the Irish Sea.


26 February 1575 Midlands


Even though the data for this earthquake are fairly good compared to most of the previous events, locating the epicentre is rather difficult. The earthquake was felt at York, Hatfield (near Doncaster), Ruthin, Denbigh, Tewkesbury, Bredon, Hereford, Gloucester and Bristol. At Ruthin, Denbigh and Tewkesbury the intensity was at least 5 MSK, but the most damage was at and near Hatfield in Yorkshire. At this place some old houses and barns were thrown down and part of the gable end of the manor house fell. Near Hatfield, supposedly, churches were "laid flat with the ground" and "great damage was done in all the country over". If the epicentre was near Doncaster, the distribution of the remaining reports is rather eccentric. More likely the epicentre was in the Midlands, in the Derby/Stafford area.


Sources: BGS material.


6 April 1580 Dover Straits


This is one of the most celebrated of all British earthquakes, supposedly alluded to by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. The epicentre was undoubtedly between Dover and Calais, and the earthquake was felt over most of England, certainly as far as York and possibly as far as Edinburgh in Scotland (the dating of the Edinburgh report is uncertain). Also the earthquake was felt over much of Northern France, throughout the Low Countries, and perhaps also in Germany.


Damage was caused in Kent and the Pas de Calais/Low Countries area, and also in London (where two apprentices were killed) and as far away as Ely and Leicestershire. There were also casualties in the Low Countries.


Seismic sea effects in the Channel were certainly observed. It has been suggested that some of the strong effects attributed to the earthquake were actually caused by a storm a few days later.


In London, a spate of pamphlets describing the earthquake and exhorting people to repentance were published, and some of these have survived, providing fuller contemporary descriptions of the effects of this earthquake than for any previous British event. A special prayerbook to be read in churches or by families was issued as a means of calming the alarmed population. As far as I am aware, the last time this prayerbook was actually used was in 1884 after the Colchester earthquake.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984a), BGS material.


1 May 1580 Dover Straits


This was the principal aftershock, felt as far as Gravesend (near London) and therefore probably greater than 4 ML.

23 July 1597 Scotland


This earthquake was felt all over the Highlands of Scotland, as far north as Ross and Cromarty and as far south as Perth. There are no descriptions that allow any estimation of intensity. The epicentre was probably in the Invergarry-Inverness area.


Sources: Musson (1989b).

24 December 1601 North Sea?


Felt in London and the east of England - epicentre probably offshore.


February 1602 North Sea?


Said to have been felt in different parts of England and caused much damage. It was felt at Hull "but none of the inhabitants were hurt by it". A shock reported as "severe" at York in 1600 may be the same as this event, or the previous one. The epicentre is very uncertain, but a North Sea location looks plausible.


8 November 1608 Comrie


This earthquake was felt, and caused alarm, from Aberdeen in the NE to Dumbarton and Glasgow in the SW, and caused slight damage in Perth. It is conjectured that the epicentre was at Comrie, though there are no data from anywhere NW of Perth. On 3 March and 5 March 1613 further shocks were felt at Perth, and the 1608 earthquake may be the largest event of an early Comrie swarm otherwise undocumented.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


9 March 1622 Scotland


Little is known about this earthquake, except that it shook many houses in the north of Scotland. The fact that it was felt worth reporting in the State Papers (unusual for a British earthquake) suggests that this earthquake may have been sufficiently large to merit inclusion here.


11 April 1650 Cumberland


The epicentre of this event was probably near Carlisle, and the felt area seems to have extended as far as Glasgow. Damage to chimneys is reported. What may have been a foreshock was reported in the area E of Carlisle some months previously, and this was said to have knocked down some houses (confusion with main shock?).


Sources: Musson (1987).


June 1668 Borders


No contemporary account of this shadowy event has come to light, but some later events are compared to it. It seems to have been felt over an area stretching from Kendal to Galashiels.


6 October 1683 Derby


This was the first British earthquake in this catalogue (the first overall was a small event in Oxfordshire on 29 January 1666) to be the subject of scientific enquiry (by members of the Royal Society). The effects seem to have been strongest N or NE of Derby and the shock was felt as far afield as Shrewsbury, Coventry, Rutland, and slightly as far south as Oxford. The northern extent is quite unknown. A bed was displaced near Derby, the shock was felt in mines near Wirksworth and it is said that the ground was cleft in some places.


Sources: BGS material.


27 August 1690 Carmarthen


Besides Carmarthen, this earthquake was also felt in Nantwich (Cheshire) and Bideford (Devon).


Sources: BGS material.


7 October 1690 North Wales


Unfortunately documentation is not as good as one would like for this major earthquake. It was felt over an area stretching from Dublin to London. Slight damage was caused in the Nantwich (Cheshire) area, but the epicentre could have been further west; in fact, the pattern shown by what data are available is not too dissimilar to that of the 1984 Lleyn Peninsula earthquake (Musson 1989a).


Sources: Melville (1983), BGS material.


8 September 1692 Brabant


This important regional earthquake had an epicentre between Brussels and Liege, and was widely felt in the Low Countries, NE France, and in Germany as far away as Frankfurt. In Britain it was felt strongly in SE England, with some isolated instances of damage, including a few reports of damage in London. There are no reports of it being felt further north than Cambridge, but to the west it was felt as far as Tiverton in Devon.


Sources: Soil Mechanics (1982), Houtgast (1992), BGS material.


28 December 1703 Hull


This earthquake was felt over Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire, and caused very slight damage in Hull. The epicentre was probably in the Humber estuary.


Sources: BGS material.


25 October 1726 Dorchester


Felt Dorchester, Ilchester, Weymouth, Portland and Bridport and other places in the vicinity. At Dorchester doors were unlatched and church bells "rattled". It was felt on board ship at Weymouth. Possibly the epicentre was offshore, but the existence of a foreshock only at Dorchester suggests a local epicentre.


Sources: BGS material.


19 July 1727 Swansea


The epicentre of this earthquake was east of Swansea, near Margam. The intensity was higher at Margam than elsewhere, and this was the only place where aftershocks were reported. Chimnies were thrown down, houses were untiled, and the water of the local river was rendered turbid.


The shock was strong enough to wake people and to cause bells to toll as far east as Oxford, and the shock was also felt very slightly in London. The westward limits of the shock are obscure; one report refers to it being felt "beyond the sea" which may indicate Ireland. The shock was strong in Devon, and was also felt in Lancashire.


It is possible that some of the reports of this event are somewhat exaggerated, since the size of the isoseismal 5 MSK as given here is rather large as compared to the overall felt area.


Sources: Musson et al (1984a).


1 March 1728 Galashiels


Epicentre between Galashiels and Selkirk; felt as far as far away as Fife and Carlisle. No damage or even strong effects.


Sources: BGS material.


25 October 1734 Portsmouth


This earthquake is very well documented thanks to a study conducted by Dr E Bayley of Havant for the Duke of Richmond, the papers of which still survive. It was felt along the S coast of England from Lulworth in the west to Hastings in the east, but not far inland, except for one report from Coleshill, near Birmingham. Houses shook, and a church bell rang at Havant (near Portsmouth). It was also felt at Bayeux, Le Havre, and on the south side of the R Seine in France. The epicentre was therefore in the central (or south of central) English Channel.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984b).


30 April 1736 Ochil Hills


The earliest known Ochill Hills event, but very poorly documented. Felt at Stirling and the villages along the line of the Ochil Hills, it "rent some houses" and caused many people to run out in alarm. It was obviously severe (intensity 6 MSK) but the actual extent of the felt area and thus the magnitude are obscure.


Sources: BGS material, Soil Mechanics (1982).


1 July 1747 Taunton


The epicentre was probably south of Taunton; the shock caused considerable alarm at Taunton and some people out of doors had trouble keeping their balance. The felt area extended from the Bristol Channel to Lyme Bay and as far as Exeter.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984b).


17 May 1749 Wimborne Minster


Earthquakes in Dorset are rather rare. This one was said to have been felt for twenty miles around Wimborne Minster. Pewter was thrown from shelves at Eastbrook, close to Wimborne.


Sources: BGS material.


8 February and 8 March 1750 London


Although not large, these two events are of considerable importance since they demonstrate the existence of an active fault directly underneath central London. The recurrence of activity on this feature today might have serious consequences. Both events occasioned intense interest, with the result that documentation is good.


The first shock was the smaller of the two. The felt area was largely confined to the limits marked by Eltham in the SE, Edmonton in the N, and Richmond in the SW, although it is also reported that the earthquake was felt at Hertford and Gravesend. The shock was strongest in the East End, at Limehouse and Poplar, where some chimneys were thrown down. There was also minor damage at Leadenhall Street, in Southwark, and a few other localities.


The second shock was more severe and damage was more widespread. Tiles fell from houses as far away as Croydon. Various chimneys were damaged, part of a house in Old Street and two uninhabited houses in Whitechapel fell. The top of one of the piers on the N side of Westminster Abbey fell down, with the ironwork that fastened it. Part of a roof at Lambeth collapsed. At least two people were injured. The felt area extends as far south as Epsom. Epsom and Stanmore are the most westerly places where the shock was reported. To the east, it was felt at Ilford but not at Hornchurch. To the north, however, it was definitely felt at various places in the Hatfield-Hertford area, possibly also in Hitchin and reportedly as far away as Linton, 10 km SE of Cambridge.


A mad guardsman prophesied a third shock for 5 April which would destroy the metropolis, which caused much panic, and many who could left the city; an engraving of the departing processions exists.


The event inspired many treatises and pamplets on earthquakes, including a satirical spoof account of the prophesied but non-occurring 5 April event, which concluded " ... the more rubbish is removed, and the deeper they go into it, the more persons of distinction are found at the bottom of it."


Sources: BGS material.


18 March 1750 Portsmouth


This event is similar to the 1734 Channel earthquake; effects were strongest in the Isle of Wight (objects thrown down) though one non-contemporary report alleges damage at Portsmouth. It was felt very weakly at Bath and near London, and one very dubious report comes from Chester. Details from France are lacking, but it seems to have been felt in the Channel Islands.


The isoseismal areas given for this and the previous event are necessarily very approximate.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984b).


2 April 1750 Chester


Felt over an elliptical area from Lancaster to Shrewsbury; epicentre somewhere near Chester. Little substantiated damage - a few bricks fell in Chester.


Sources: Burton et al (1984), Melville (1986).


23 August 1750 North Sea


A North Sea epicentre is presumed for this event, which was felt throughout Lincolnshire and in the Humberside area, more strongly towards the coast. Nowhere is there any evidence of strong effects, further increasing the likelihood that the epicentre was offshore.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984c), BGS material.


30 September 1750 Leicester


Slight damage and considerable alarm was caused in the Leicester-Uppingham area, the maximum intensity being 6 MSK. Some contemporary descriptions of effects at Northampton were somewhat exaggerated, as local accounts show; the intensity in Northampton was 4-5 MSK. The felt area is elongated E-W, and bounded by Derby, Warwick and Bury St Edmunds.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984c), BGS material.


8 April 1753 Skipton


Generally felt in the Manchester - Cheshire area and in S Yorkshire. Effects were strongest at Skipton, but there is a lack of any data from further north.


Sources: Melville (1986), BGS material.


19 April 1754 Whitby


Generally felt between Stockton and Hull, and inland to the SW of Leeds. Possibly a Flamborough Head event.


Sources: Soil Mechanics (1982).


1 August 1755 Lincoln


An odd event. It was felt all over Lincolnshire, west as far as Nottingham and Leicester, and south as far as Rushden, Northants. The strongest effects, however, were all at the north end of the felt area. At four villages on the south side of the Humber "the walls of some [houses] fell down" suggesting an intensity of at least 6 MSK, but this may be anomalous. The epicentre cannot be located with any precision; one might suspect this was an offshore earthquake imperfectly reported, but the existence of an aftershock reported only from Lincoln argues against this.


Sources: BGS material.


18 February 1756 Dren


This major earthquake of the Lower Rhine Embayment was felt in Kent and London.


Sources: Houtgast (1992).


10 January 1757 Norwich


Felt in the Norwich - Diss - Great Yarmouth area. There is a good description of effects in Norwich; nothing more severe than pewter rattling.


Sources: BGS material.


17 May 1757 Todmorden


Felt between Preston and Bingley; pewter and glass rattled; felt outdoors.


Sources: Melville (1986).


15 July 1757 Penzance


Relatively well-documented thanks to a contemporary study by the naturalist William Borlase. It was felt throughout Cornwall and also in the Scilly Isles, but hardly any distance into Devon. There is one report of damage at Mount's Bay from a London paper, but Borlase says there was no damage. The epicentre is hard to judge on account of the narrow shape of Cornwall. Just east of Penzance is the most likely location, but west of Land's End and north of Newquay are other possibilities.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


12 August 1757 Holyhead


Size and epicentre of this event are obscure. It was alarming at Holyhead where things were thrown from shelves, and also felt at other places in Anglesey.


Sources: BGS material.


9 June 1761 Shaftesbury


Felt Shaftesbury - Sherborne - Frome - Westbury. The only damage reported is from Shaftesbury where the end of a cottage came down. At Sherborne things leaning against walls were knocked down. Between Westbury and Wincanton many springs were made turbid, and new springs that were as black as ink appeared at Marston.


Sources: BGS material.


6 November 1764 Oxford


Alarming in Oxford; doors burst open. Felt also at Wallingford, Cirencester and other, unnamed, places in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Wiltshire.


Sources: BGS material.


15 May 1768 Wensleydale


Documentation is poor, and the sparsely-populated nature of the epicentral area makes the epicentre hard to fix. The shock threw down field walls near Malham, and was alarming at Kendal. It was felt at Keighley in the south, and near Carlisle in the north, and the epicentre was probably near Upper Wensleydale. The shock was not felt at Manchester, contrary to many sources.


Sources: BGS material.


24 October 1768 Inverness


Felt at Inverness and Ruthven.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


21 December 1768 Tewkesbury


A little-known earthquake. It was felt fairly strongly in the Gloucester-Droitwich area, but also in Oxfordshire and as far east as Reading. The western limit was Stoke Edith, near Hereford; the north-south extent is obscure. In Gloucester many people ran from their houses, but it some parts of the city it was less noticeable.


Sources: BGS material.


2 April 1769 South Molton


Very poorly documented event somewhere in the Exmoor area.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


22 April 1773 Caernarvon


Felt at Caernarvon, where some chimneys were brought down, Bangor, all over Anglesey, and no doubt elsewhere in North Wales. Poorly documented, as one might expect for an event at this period in a remote rural area.


Sources: BGS material.


23 April 1773 Channel Islands


This is another rather poorly documented event. It was felt in the Channel Islands, the St Malo area in N France, and in Dorset, giving it a rather elongated N-S felt area. There are no reports from the Cherbourg Peninsula. No damage was done.


Sources: Soil Mechanics (1982), BRGM.


8 September 1775 Swansea


The effects of this earthquake are rather similar to those of the 1727 Swansea earthquake; it was strongly felt as far east as Oxford, and was felt in Devon to the south and Lancashire to the north, the western extent being obscure. There are no reports from London this time, but it was felt in Surrey and in Sussex.


At Swansea some houses were said to have "tumbled in". Certainly some chimneys were felled. The only other reported damage was an isolated and distant instance of a ceiling being damaged at Northwich, Cheshire.


Sources: Musson et al (1984a).


28 November 1776 Dover Straits


This earthquake was similar to the event of 9 January 1950. Very minor damage was done either side of the Dover Straits.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984d).


14 September 1777 Manchester


Slight damage and considerable alarm to church congregations was caused in Manchester and vicinity. The shock was felt as far afield as Kendal and Birmingham, the felt area being somewhat elongated N-S. The epicentre was probably between Manchester and Altrincham.


Sources: Burton et al (1984).


29 August 1780 Llanrwst


This earthquake was felt over more or less all of North Wales, from Holyhead and the Lleyn Peninsula to Holywell and Flint. The intensity distribution seems to have been rather irregular; it was apparently stronger at Holyhead than at Caernarvon, and was felt around Conway but not in the town itself. The highest intensity reported was at Llanrwst, where the whole town felt it and part of a wall was thrown down. The epicentre was presumably somewhere SW or W of Llanrwst.


Sources: BGS material.


9 December 1780 Wensleydale


The rugged nature of N England causes the same problems here as for the 1768 Wensleydale earthquake, although this time there are some reports from Wensleydale itself, including a report of a barrel of gin being thrown off a shelf at Redmire. The shock was felt as far south as Flintshire and even Shrewsbury; the northern limit was Warkworth, near Amble in Northumberland.


Sources: Musson et al (1984b).


5 October 1782 Amlwch


Felt generally throughout Anglesey, and apparently strongest at Amlwch, though details are rather lacking. Elsewhere in N Wales it was felt weakly as far as Mold. Epicentre probably offshore NE of Amlwch.


Sources: Soil Mechanics (1982), BGS material.


10 August 1783 Launceston


The effects were strongest between Launceston and Okehampton; at Kelly, the church bell was rung by the shock. The earthquake was felt over a wide part of western Devon and part of eastern Cornwall.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


11 August 1786 Whitehaven


This important earthquake was felt over an area stretching between Dublin and Aberdeen. The epicentre was just off the Cumberland coast, near Whitehaven. Minor damage occurred at Barrow, Cockermouth, Egremont, Whitehaven and Workington. Reports of a similar event on 16 June 1786 are spurious.


Sources: Musson et al (1984b).


4 May 1789 Barnstaple


The felt area of this event was restricted to NW Devon. The shock was sufficient to move furniture and break crockery.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


2 March 1792 Stamford


Felt in the counties of Nottingham, Leicester, Lincoln, Rutland and Bedford. The only report of damage is from Bigglsewade, where some old cottages fell down (this is towards the edge of the felt area and presumably anomalous). The epicentre was somewhere between Stamford and Kettering.


Sources: BGS material.


2 January and 12 March 1795 Comrie


The first of these was felt "twenty miles around" Comrie; the second as far away as Tyndrum.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


18 November 1795 Derby


Damage in the epicentral area consisted of chimneys falling at Derby, Nottingham, Chilwell, Chesterfield and Ashover. The epicentre was between Derby and Mansfield. The shock was felt as far south as Bristol, as far east as Norwich and as far west as Liverpool. The northern limit is uncertain - probably between York and Northallerton.


Sources: Soil Mechanics (1982).


4 August 1797 Argyll


Very poorly documented. It was felt "upwards of sixty miles" in Argyllshire, and was strong enough to overturn many heavy items of furniture, which implies at least 6 MSK despite the absence of damage reports. The epicentre is obscure.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


12 March 1800 Conway


There are descriptions of this event from various isolated houses over an area stretching from the Vale of Conway to the Dee estuary, mostly describing rattling furniture. There was no damage. A report from Caerhun, S of Conway, mentions previous shocks, which may be foreshocks, and thus may indicate the epicentre to have been in or near the Vale of Conway. The epicentre adopted here is about 10 km W of Caerhun.


Sources: BGS material.


1 June 1801 Chester


Felt at Chester, Shrewsbury and Salford; no more details, but it does not seem to have felt particularly strongly at any of these places. The epicentre is presumed to be SE of Chester.


Sources: BGS material.


7 September 1801 Comrie


This was the climax of an earthquake swarm at Comrie that started in 1788 and numbered several hundred felt events, dying down after the 1801 earthquake. The shock was felt as far north as Inverness, and almost as far south as the English border. Minor damage was caused at Comrie. Two of the foreshocks are also included in the catalogue.


Sources: Musson et al (1984c).


21 October 1802 Carmarthen


Alarming in Carmarthen, where many people ran into the streets, apparently on account of a prophecy that Carmarthen would be swallowed by an earthquake. Also felt at Narbeth and Llandeilo.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


12 January 1805 Ruthin


Very little detail is known, beyond the fact that it was felt in the Vale of Clwyd and parts of Merionethshire, people were alarmed and a stone wall was thrown down.


Sources: Soil Mechanics (1982), BGS material.


21 April 1805 Stafford


Felt between Newcastle-under-Lyme and Birmingham.


Sources: Principia (1982).


9 January 1809 Comrie


Felt at Comrie, Amulree and Killin, and possibly also near Blairgowrie.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


18 January 1809 Strathearn


The epicentre of this event is poorly determined; reports may have been restricted by the fact that roads in the area were blocked with snow about this date. The effects were strongest at Crieff; it was also felt along the north side of the Ochill Hills and probably as far north as Amulree. It could have been another Comrie earthquake.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


31 January and 1 February 1809 Strontian


These were the strongest two of a series of eleven shocks felt in the Strontian - Arisaig area. At an unspecified place in Argyllshire plaster fell and two old houses that were "tottering" collapsed completely. A non-contemporaneous source says this happened near Inveraray; if this were true it would radically increase the size of these shocks, but all efforts to substantiate this have failed and it may be that the damage occurred near Strontian.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


30 November 1811 Chichester


This shock was felt at many places in the Chichester-Portsmouth area, as far inland as Midhurst and Petworth, as far E as Shoreham and as far W as Newport (IoW). However, the felt effects do not seem to go much beyond strong shaking of furniture, though the water in Portsmouth Harbour was said to be agitated.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


1 May 1812 Neath


One stack of chimneys near Neath, and one chimney in Neath, were thrown down. The shock was fairly strong in Swansea and perceptible in the direction of Cardiff at least as far as Pyle.


Sources: Musson et al (1984a).


17 March 1816 Mansfield


Many chimneys were damaged at Mansfield, the church was also damaged, and several of the congregation were hurt by falling stones as they ran out in alarm. The shock was felt as far away as Blackburn in the NW, Hull in the NE, and Gunley (Worcs ?) in the S.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984c).


13 August 1816 Inverness


The largest and severest of the known Inverness earthquakes. It caused considerable damage in Inverness, and would have caused many injuries but for the time of day, when the streets were empty. The epicentre was probably SW of Inverness itself. The felt area covers almost all of Scotland; but no damage is reported from anywhere other than Inverness.


The principal aftershock was felt as far away as Aberdeen and Montrose, and is thus also included in the catalogue. Other aftershocks continued until November 1818.


Sources: Musson et al (1984c).


23 April 1817 West Scotland


This event is only known from low intensity reports at the margin of the felt area (Greenock, Glasgow, Leith and Inverness). Presumably the origin was somewhere in the Oban-Lochaber district, but no reports have survived from this remote (at that time) area.


Sources: Musson et al (1987).


25 December 1820 Kintail


Felt Kintail, Loch Hourn, Glen Moriston and "other central places". This is all that is known about it.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


22 October 1821 Rothesay


Felt between Inveraray and Ayr; shook furniture; epicentre in the Bute/Loch Fyne area.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d).


23 October 1821 Comrie


Felt almost as far south as Stirling. Some confusion has occurred in the past between this shock and the preceding.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


13 April 1822 Comrie


Felt as far from Comrie as Dunkeld. At one house in Comrie the covers of pots and pans fell and house bells were set ringing.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d).


6 December 1824 Portsmouth


Felt strongly between Gosport and Arundel, apparently at much the same intensity. The shock was alarming, and many people ran outside at Chichester and other places. A few bricks fell off a chimney at Havant.


Sources: Soil Mechanics (1982).


9 February 1827 Caernarvon


Probably similar to the 1992 Caernarvon earthquake. It was felt in the Caernarvon - Bangor area and throughout Anglesey. In Caernarvon the shock caused people to run out in alarm and threw down small objects from shelves. Possibly some furniture was overturned.


Sources: Soil Mechanics (1982), BGS material.


23 February 1828 Tirlemont


This significant Belgian earthquake, with epicentre ESE of Brussels, was felt at intensity 2 MSK at Boughton under Blean, near Faversham, Kent.


Sources: Ambraseys (1985), Houtgast (1992), BGS material.


2 March 1831 Deal


Felt in E Kent, from Margate to Dover, and in the surrounding villages. Particularly alarming at Deal, where some people fainted. Epicentre an uncertain distance offshore from Deal, but no reports from France have been discovered.


Sources: Soil Mechanics (1982), BGS material.


28 July 1832 Chester


Felt mostly in the area E of Chester, as far east as Sandbach, but also as far south as Adderley, near Whitchurch. The shock was strong enough to shake trees and force a cupboard door open. Epicentre near Tarporley.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


30 December 1832 Swansea


Slight damage was caused in the Swansea area, chiefly the knocking down of a few chimney stacks and cracks in some walls. The felt area appears to have been strongly elliptical N-S; the shock was felt distinctly at Caernarvon, weakly at Exeter and very weakly at Hayle in Cornwall. However, there are no reports from further east than Neath, and a report that it was felt in Co. Wexford appears to be unsubtantiated.


The epicentre was near Swansea, probably just offshore.


Sources: Musson et al (1984a).


18 September 1833 to 27 August 1834 Chichester


The author once saw an item in a Victorian publication which stated that the most earthquake prone county in the UK is Sussex, a statement which reads strangely to the modern reader. The justification at that time was probably the series of small but high-intensity events that took place in the Chichester region between 1833 and 1835, the largest four of which are included here.


The 18 September 1833 event threw down a few chimneys in Chichester and caused a fall in a chalk pit at Cocking, killing a man who was working there. The next event on 13 November was similar in felt area, caused a large clock in Chichester to strike, and was said to have been stronger to the north.


On 23 January 1834 came the best-documented event of the sequence. At least one stack of chimneys in Chichester fell (a MS account states that bricks and tiles fell in every direction, but most accounts mention little or no damage). The 27 August earthquake was rather more damaging. Many chimneys and "innumerable" chimney pots fell down; many windows were broken and alarm was extreme. This shock was felt as far away as Southampton.


The epicentres of these events was close to Chichester, probably to the west.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984b).


20 August 1835 Lancaster


Damage from this event was very minor, limited to parts of two or three chimneys, one ceiling and the throwing down of some field walls. The epicentre was east of Lancaster, probably in the North Bowland Fells. The limits of the felt area are marked by Carlisle, Halifax, and Bangor. It was reportedly not felt in the Isle of Man.


Sources: Burton et al (1984).


20 October 1837 Tavistock


Felt from Camelford in E Cornwall to North Bovey in Devon, the other side of Dartmoor. The felt area is rather elongated east-west. The descriptions give little indication of the effects of the shock anywhere; probably the intensity was nowhere very high.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


20 March 1839 Invergarry


Felt from Glen Garry to Kingussie. The shock was apparently strong enough to unlatch doors at Invergarry.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


11 June 1839 Rochdale


The felt area was elongated N-S, stretching from Clitheroe to Manchester. The shock was particularly strong at Bury, Heywood and Rochdale; many articles were thrown from shelves, a wall was damaged at Rochdale and shafting was thrown out of gear at Heywood. There seems to have been a foreshock.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


1 September 1839 Monmouth


Epicentre in the Bristol Channel between Newport and Bristol. Bells rang at Llantarnam. The extent of the felt area is uncertain.


Sources: Musson et al (1984a).


23 October 1839 Comrie


In 1839 swarm activity in Comrie started up again, rapidly building up to the earthquake of 23 October, the largest of all the known Comrie earthquakes. The felt area extended over most of Scotland and just across the English border to the south, one of very few Scottish earthquakes to be felt in England. There was significant damage at Comrie and in the vicinity. Many houses in Comrie were damaged.


One of the more remarkable effects was the breaching of the Earl's Burn dam in the Gargunnock Hills SW of Stirling; the flood waters did considerable damage but no lives were lost. The bursting of the dam actually occurred the morning after the shock, but the dam was over-full and in poor condition, and it is likely the earthquake started a slow failure (Musson 1991b).


This earthquake inspired the subsequent earthquake investigations of a BAAS committee led by David Milne, and is one of the best documented events of its period thanks to Milne's work (Milne 1842).


Six of the foreshocks and three of the immediate aftershocks are estimated to have exceeded 3 ML and appear in the catalogue.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


18-19 January 7 April and 26 October 1840 Comrie


These were the strongest of the many shocks felt at Comrie in 1840. That of 19 January has the unusual distinction of being honoured with a stone monument, possibly erected at Stanley, found in 1993 at Fingask Castle near Perth, and now in the possession of Perth Museum. The shock of 26 October was one of the few to affect the primitive seismoscopes installed at Comrie.


Sources: Musson (1989b, 1993b).


12 March 1841 Comrie


The original records of this event do not appear reliable.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


30 July 1841 Comrie


The felt area of this earthquake is elliptical, roughly WSW-ENE, and extending as far to the west as Dunoon, though there was little variation in the severity of the shock except in the immediate vicinity of Comrie, where some damage to chimneys occurred.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d).


20 December 1841 Kintail


Very poorly documented. Described as "severe" and felt in Kintail and "several of the neighbouring parishes".


Sources: Musson (1989b).


17 February 1842 Helston


A well-documented event. It was felt only in western Cornwall. The epicentre was near Constantine, where people ran out in alarm and a book fell off a shelf.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


15 August 1842 Caernarvon


Similar to the 1827 and 1992 Caernarvon earthquakes, but less well documented. It was felt all over Anglesey, strongest in the SE, and was felt strongly on board two schooners and a brig passing over Caernarvon Bar. It was also felt outdoors on the SE coast of Anglesey. The extent of the felt area on the mainland is uncertain.


Sources: BGS material.


25 February 1843 Argyll


Felt strongly between Dunoon and Oban. At Lochgilphead the shock was alarming and house bells were set ringing. The epicentre was probably somewhere along Loch Fyne, possibly near or north of Lochgilphead.


Sources: Musson and Redmayne (1986).


10 March 1843 Todmorden


This appears to be another Todmorden earthquake, but the epicentre is poorly controlled. The shock was felt in the Rochdale area and as far north as Slaidburn. It caused people to run out in alarm at Heptonstall, but there are no reports known from further east.


Sources: Burton et al (1984).


17 March 1843 Lancashire


The epicentre of this earthquake was actually offshore, somewhere to the west of Barrow-in-Furness. The earthquake was felt throughout most of Northern England, in S Scotland, N Wales and along the east coast of Ireland from Belfast to Dublin. The only damage reported was from Castletown in the Isle of Man, where ceilings were damaged. The shock was quite strongly felt in Lancashire and the east coast of Cumbria; there are reports of objects falling, furniture moving, considerable alarm, but no damage. The shock was also felt on board ships in the Irish Sea.


Sources: Burton et al (1984).


22 December 1843 Channel Islands


Of the various Channel Islands earthquakes, this was by far the strongest of those with an epicentre close to Guernsey. A considerable amount of minor damage was done to buildings on Guernsey and there was panic amongst the inhabitants. The earthquake was felt as far away as Devon and also at St Malo and places near Cherbourg.


Sources: Mourant (1931, 1937), BRGM.


18 January 1844 Comrie


Two shocks on this day were felt at Comrie, Crieff, Aberfeldy, Balquhidder and Strathardle; the second was also felt strongly at Tyndrum and as far away to the west as Kinlochmoidart. Possibly this second event was not a Comrie earthquake at all but had an epicentre well to the NW in the Rannoch Moor area.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


24 November 1846 Comrie


The third largest of the 19th century Comrie earthquakes, this event was strangely ignored by the early investigators, and remained obscure until recently. It was felt from the Moray Firth to Glasgow and from Inveraray to Aberdeen. There was minor damage in Comrie and places nearby, chiefly restricted to cracks in walls. There were numerous aftershocks, typical for a Comrie earthquake. This was one of the few events strong enough to affect the primitive seismoscopes installed around Comrie in 1840-1841. The time being around midnight, it is possible the event actually occurred on 25 November.


One of the foreshocks and two of the aftershocks also appear in the catalogue.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d).


16 November 1847 Newport


This earthquake was felt in the Cardiff - Newport - Pontypool - Tredegar area. It was strongest at Pontypool, where there was much alarm and some loss of balance. The epicentre was betwen Pontypool and Risca.


Sources: Musson (1990b).


3 April 1852 Wells


The shock was strongest along the southern edge of the Mendips in Somerset, but was also felt just north of Bristol and as far south as Street. Some damage to ceilings near Cheddar, clocks struck, bells rang. Epicentre was probably near Cheddar.


Sources: Soil Mechanics (1982), BGS material.


1 June 1852 Swansea


Felt in the Swansea-Bridgend area only. The strongest reported effect seems to have been the ringing of bells at Swansea Railway Station.


Sources: Principia (1982).


12 August 1852 Callington


This earthquake was felt over most of E Cornwall and also on Dartmoor. It was felt most strongly in the Liskeard - Calstock area, where plaster fell, people outside had trouble standing, tiles fell and springs stopped at individual places. It was felt surprisingly strongly in the east of the felt area. Reportedly stones fell from a tor on Dartmoor and a wall is said to have fallen at Widecombe. The shock was also felt strongly by miners.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


9 November 1852 Caernarvon


Some confusion has been caused by this earthquake - traditionally the epicentre has been placed somewhere in the middle of the Irish Sea, or even quite close to Dublin. It seems clear, though, that the epicentre was actually in Caernarvon Bay. The extent of the felt area is very great, and is roughly delimited by Galway, Glasgow and London. There was little damage, and what there was was scattered over a wide area from Dublin to Shrewsbury, without any concentration of high intensities in the epicentral area. This is almost certainly indicative of a relatively deep focus.


The event is closely comparable to the 19 July 1984 Lleyn earthquake.


Sources: Musson et al (1986a).


19 February 1853 Inverness


The epicentre of this earthquake is poorly determined. The earthquake was felt at a number of places between Strathglass (west of Inverness) and Elgin, the intensity decreasing eastwards, and may also have been felt at Letterewe on the west coast. The epicentre is given here as west of Strathglass, but it may actually be even further west. The absence of data from remote mountainous areas makes better resolution impossible.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


27 March 1853 Hereford


Epicentre in the Black Mountains, between Hereford and Abergavenny. It was felt as far away as Monmouth and Brecon. There is practically no observable decay of intensity within the felt area; intensities are more or less uniform in the 4-5 MSK range. There was one report of damage - a crack in a wall of a house near Abergavenny.


Sources: Musson et al (1984a).


1 April 1853 Coutances


The epicentre of this earthquake was on the west side of the Cherbourg peninsula, near Coutances. As well as being strongly felt in the Channel Islands, it was also felt on the south coast of England, especially around Bournemouth. At Coutances the spire of the cathedral was damaged and there was damage to plaster in Jersey.


There is significant disagreement between some interpretations of this event, particularly Ambraseys (1985) and BRGM, who differ in intensity assignments for some places in France by as much as three degrees.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984b), Ambraseys (1985), BRGM.


1 April 1858 Liskeard


Felt in the Liskeard area of SE Cornwall, between St Blazey and Plymouth. At Looe trees shook.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


29 September 1858 Okehampton


A remarkably well-documented event considering its small size and lack of strong effects. It was felt along the N edge of Dartmoor, most strongly at Sticklepath and the neighbouring villages. The epicentral location and shallow depth lend support to the hypothesis that the Sticklepath Fault may have been responsible.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


6 June 1858 Stratherrick


The epicentre of this earthquake was in the area south and east of Loch Ness. It was felt as far as Grantown on Spey to the NE and Fort William to the SW. No effects stronger than the shaking of doors and windows were reported.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


13 August 1859 Ixworth


Felt over a restricted area around Diss and between Diss and Bury St Edmunds. Felt outside and strong enough to overthrow furniture in one village.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


21 October 1859 Padstow


This earthquake was felt throughout Cornwall, mostly at intensities of 4 or 5 MSK. It was previously considered to be a Truro earthquake, but the epicentre seems actually to have been offshore, NW of Padstow on the N coast of Cornwall. There was no damage.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


15 December 1859 Settle


A minor event affecting chiefly Upper Wharfedale. Doors were thrown open at Grassington. The most remarkable thing about this earthquake is the number of subsequent allusions to it.


Sources: BGS material.


13 January 1860 Newquay


A few months after the 1859 Padstow earthquake, a similar but stronger event occurred. There was minor damage, mostly to plaster, at Newquay, Ponsanooth, St Columb and St Michael's Mount. In both these earthquakes, it is impossible to estimate just how far offshore the epicentre may have been; if the epicentre was further out, it would imply the magnitude was larger than the estimate given here.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


6 October 1863 Hereford


This event is extremely well documented, partly due to a contemporary investigation by EJ Lowe, partly due to the very copious newspaper reports of the event. The epicentre was to the SW of Hereford itself, in the area known as the Golden Valley. Damage in the epicentral area (Hereford - Ross on Wye - Monmouth - Abergavenny - Hay on Wye) was fairly minor, but there are also reports of isolated instances of damage at places further away, including several places in Shropshire and even as far away as Lincoln.


The effects of the shock were felt over almost the whole of England and Wales south of the Lake District (it was felt at Ulverstone), including Cornwall and Kent, where it was felt by Charles Dickens, who described the experience in a letter to the Times. It seems also to have been felt quite noticeably in N France at Le Havre and other places (Vogt 1979), which is unusual; this extends the felt area sufficiently to give the earthquake a magnitude equal to that of the 19 July 1984 Lleyn earthquake.


This may also be one of the last instances in the UK of a religious interpretation being put on an earthquake; on the Sunday following, the vicar of Leominster preached a sermon stating that the earthquake was sent by God as a result of the numbers of Dissenters in the parish, and was widely ridiculed as a result.


Sources: Soil Mechanics (1982), Vogt (1979), BGS material.


21 August 1864 Lewes


Although the earthquakes associated with West Sussex are better-known, East Sussex is not without events, of which this one is one of the better-documented. It was felt over an area delimited by Shoreham-by-Sea, Rotherfield and Herstmonceux. In Lewes the shock was strong, causing much alarm and knocking down objects from shelves. Most people were woken, but few of those outdoors felt the shock. At West Firle, E of Lewes, a thick brick wall was cracked through at an arch, the crack being about 4' in length and " wide. This is the only report of damage. The epicentre was E of Lewes.


Sources: BGS material.


26 September 1864 Todmorden


Reports of this event come from the area between Manchester and Skipton, but as the shock was stronger at Skipton than anywhere else (furniture was knocked over) the felt area must extend some distance further north across the hills. The epicentre is presumed to be between Todmorden and Skipton.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


15 February 1865 Barrow in Furness


This is a quite remarkable earthquake, which demonstrates how significant focal depth is in determining maximum intensity. The epicentre occurred SE of Barrow in Furness, near the village of Rampside, which suffered heavy damage from the shock. Yet in Dalton in Furness, about 10 km away, the shock was hardly perceptible. Liquefaction effects were also observed on the shore near Rampside despite conventional wisdom that liquefaction only occurs with earthquakes of magnitude 6 and above. It is clear that the focus was extremely shallow (probably less than 1 km).


Sources: Burton et al (1984).


9 March 1866 Norwegian Sea


This large Norwegian earthquake was felt slightly in the UK, most strongly in the Shetlands, but also in the Orkneys and there is a single report from Banffshire. The epicentre was offshore from Trondheim.


Sources: Muir Wood and Woo (1987)


23 February 1867 Grasmere


Felt over the southern central part of the Lake District, with an epicentre near Grasmere. It caused considerable alarm (partly because many mistook it for an explosion at Elterwater gunpowder mills) but no effects more serious than displacing a few domestic items. The earthquake's chief claim to fame is having an account of it written by the authoress Harriet Martineau.


Sources: Musson et al (1984b).


8 May 1867 Comrie


This was the strongest of the Comrie events in the latter part of the 19th century, though still not very strong. It was felt as far away as Killin and Greenloaning only. At Comrie it was described as "pretty severe". It was the continuance of further small shocks in 1869 that led to an expectation of renewed activity and the revival of the British Association Committee on Earthquakes, also the building of "Earthquake House", a small observatory to house a simple seismoscope. The 1860s-1870s swarm never amounted to much and the seismoscope never actually triggered. Earthquake House has recently been restored and is now a tourist attraction in Comrie.


Sources: Principia (1982), Davison (1924).


4 January 1868 Langport


Felt in the valley of the R Parrett, around Bridgwater, Taunton, Wellington and towards Ilminster. The strongest effects were reported from Langport, where small items were knocked down, a watch stopped and a door flew open.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


30 October 1868 Neath


The limits of the felt area of this event are marked by Manchester in the north, Blackheath (Kent) in the east, Plymouth in the south and St David's (Pembroke) in the west. The intensity was not very high anywhere, and the only reports of damage are isolated and non-representative. The shock was strongest at Neath, where effects on people and objects suggest intensity 6 MSK, but as there was not even slight damage

to houses, the intensity has been given as 5-6 MSK. The epicentre was probably in the Vale of Neath, NE of Neath itself. There was a complete absence of aftershocks.


Sources: Musson et al (1984a).


9 January 1869 Ixworth


Ten years after the Ixworth earthquake of 1859 a slightly larger event shook the same area - Thetford, Bury St Edumunds and the area to the east. The shock was felt outdoors and in one instance disturbed standing water.


Sources: Principia (1982).


9 March 1869 Spean Bridge


Very poorly documented, leaving some doubt about the size of this earthquake. It seems to have been strongly felt in the Spean Bridge - Strone area, and as far as Fort William, and caused several yards of plaster work to fall at a house at an unspecified location in Kilmallie Parish. One may assume that the southern limit of the felt area was somewhere just S of Fort William, but there is no indication of the northern limit; the magnitude may be anywhere between 2.6 and 3.3 ML.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


15 March 1869 Rochdale


The felt area of this event stretched between Preston and Leeds, with the strongest effects NW of Rochdale. There was slight damage and considerable alarm in the Rawtenstall district.


Sources: Soil Mechanics (1982).


17 March 1871 Appleby


The main problem with this major N England earthquake is fixing the epicentre, which lies somewhere between Sedbergh and Alston; most probably between Appleby and Alston. How near the latter place depends on how much weight is placed on the location of aftershocks which were felt at Alston and Nenthead, nearby. The issue is made harder because of the absence of concentrated high intensities and the irregular population distribution. There was extremely little damage caused.


The felt area was extensive - the shock was observed between Galashiels in the north and Nottingham in the south, with an isolated report from Herefordshire. It was also felt in North Wales and the Isle of Man but not in Ireland. It is said that the shock was recorded instrumentally on a magnetograph at Stonyhurst, but the records are now so faded as to be illegible.


A substantial foreshock preceded the main shock by five hours, and there were a number of aftershocks and accessory shocks, some of which probably or definitely were unconnected with the main event.


Sources: Musson (1991a).


15 April 1871 Dunoon


The epicentre of this event was near Ardentinny and the shock was felt over an area roughly 25 km in radius. There was slight damage (mostly to plaster) at several locations near the epicentre. A cottage near Rosneath was said to have subsided about a foot as a result of the earthquake and a disturbance of the waters of Gareloch is also reported.


Sources: Musson and Redmayne (1986).


8 August 1872 Dunblane


A small but well-documented shock. It was felt between Stirling and St Fillans, the epicentre being between Dunblane and Braco. Effects in the epicentral area included breaking windows, breaking of glassware, tools falling at a smithy, and slates being shaken off the roof of Ardoch House.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


15 November 1874 Caernarvon


This event was felt over an area stretching from Llangefni in the north to Barmouth and Dolgelley in the south. In general the intensity was not higher than 4 MSK, though some exaggerated and false reports suggesting higher intensity were circulated in some newspapers. These included the fall of the gable end of a house in Barmouth, which did collapse, but only some 40 hours after the earthquake. The only real indication of intensity higher than 4 MSK is the breaking of crockery in a couple of houses in a village 6 km SE of Bangor. The epicentre was probably in Snowdonia.


Sources: BGS material.


11 March and 23 April 1877 Mull


The first of these two events was felt on Mull, Coll and Tiree. At Tobermory some dishes were thrown from a table. The epicentre was probably west of Tobermory.


The second event evidently originated from a more easterly epicentre. It was strongly felt in Oban; dishes were smashed in Oban and also at Benmore, on Mull. The epicentre of this event was presumably in the Firth of Lorn.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


28 January 1878 Normandy


This event was felt over much of Normandy, in the Channel Islands, and more weakly along the south coast of England and about as far north as London. It was also felt in Paris. The epicentre was offshore, N of Caen. No damage is reported. It seems likely that there was at least one substantial foreshock and aftershock.


Sources: Mourant (1931), Principia (1982), BGS material, BRGM.


4 January 1879 North Sea


This Viking Graben earthquake was only weakly felt either side of the North Sea; in the UK it was only felt on Unst, in the Shetland Islands. Had the earthquake been any smaller it would not have been noticed at all, and at an earlier date it would have gone unreported. This illustrates the probable degree of incompleteness of the catalogue for offshore events of this nature.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


8 April 1879 Caernarvon


Possibly connected with the 1874 Caernarvon earthquake, which seems to have a common epicentre. This smaller event was felt in the Caernarvon - Blaenau Ffestiniog area. The knocking of a couple of bottles off a shelf was the strongest effect reported.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


28 November 1880 Argyll


This was the largest of all recorded Scottish earthquakes, and was felt all along the west coast of Scotland, east as far as Perthshire, throughout the Inner and Outer Hebrides, and extensively in Northern Ireland. However, nowhere was the intensity very high, and the distribution of intensity was rather irregular. This is probably explained by (a) a deep focus, (b) the complex geology of the region and (c) differential attenuation across the Highland Boundary Fault. The distribution is analagous to the intensity distribution of the smaller 1976 Oban earthquake, which was also irregular - a good example of how modern macroseismic monitoring helps to understand the past. This combination of factors has lead to some widely differing interpretations of where the epicentre was (Musson 1989a). The most probable location is near Loch Awe, between Oban, Inveraray and Lochgilphead. An aftershock was felt at Inveraray.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


16 January 1883 Abergavenny


Felt at Abergavenny, Monmouth, Blaenavon, Clifton and a house just W of Gloucester. At Monmouth and Clifton it was slight, at Abergavenny "somewhat severe" and at Blaenavon people came out of their houses, mistaking the shock for a mine explosion. One report states it was also felt at Welshpool, nearly 100 km N of Abergavenny, but this seems improbable.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


25 June 1883 Launceston


This is the largest earthquake with an epicentre in the SW peninsula; it was felt over almost the whole of Cornwall and Devon (it was felt as far east as Sidmouth and did not reach further than Penzance in the west). There was very little damage - two reports of damage to plaster - but some other strong effects were observed, such as upsetting of piles of objects outdoors, moving furniture and throwing down crockery. The epicentre was between Launceston and Altarnun. An aftershock occurred about twenty minutes after the main shock, which was felt over a wide area but at remarkably low intensities.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


22 April 1884 Colchester


This is probably the most famous British earthquake; it was certainly the most damaging, at least since 1580, which has led to popular misapprehensions that it was one of the largest. Although the earthquake was felt as far north as Hull and as far west as Exeter, the earthquake was so newsworthy that far more reports of very low intensities have been preserved than would normally be the case; only in East Anglia was the earthquake strong enough to be generally perceptible.


The epicentre was south of Colchester, near the village of Peldon, in Essex. In the villages around the epicentre damage was extensive to houses and churches, giving a maximum intensity of 8 MSK. In Colchester itself the intensity was 7 MSK. These high intensities rapidly decay with distance, indicating a very shallow focus (about 2 km).


A few people were injured, but no-one killed, although an invalid on her death bed was said to have had her death hastened by the shock, and a woman in Manningtree, Essex, was so depressed by the earthquake that she drowned herself in the River Stour a few days later.


The earthquake was investigated by Raphael Meldola and William White, whose extensive study is extremely valuable in understanding this earthquake.


The damage was very well illustrated pictorially, both in drawings and photographs.


It is somewhat ironic that this most damaging of British earthquakes should have occurred in an area otherwise devoid of significant seismic activity.


Sources: Musson et al (1990).


18 June 1885 Market Weighton


Felt in the York - Hull - Doncaster - Leeds area. Strongest at and near Market Weighton, where some plaster damage occurred and people ran out in alarm. The epicentre is more or less the same as that of a much smaller event ( < 2 ML ) on 18 January 1822 at Seaton Ross.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material, Burton et al (1984 - for 1822 event).


30 June 1885 Grasmere


Felt over central and southern parts of the Lake District. "Doors and plates moved" at Grasmere.


Sources: BGS material.


4 January 1886 Dartmouth


This small offshore earthquake nevertheless caused some slight damage at Dartmouth and Stoke Fleming; chiefly the fall of plaster from ceilings. Standing water was disturbed, and the shock was felt strongly outdoors and even in a moving vehicle. There is an odd report that the surface of the sea in Start Bay was covered with foam at the moment of the shock. The epicentre was evidently in Start Bay, not far offshore.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


21 April 1887 Channel


This is an extremely obscure event on the basis of the limited data to hand. It was felt on Jersey, Guernsey and at Lymington, Hants. Whether it was felt on the French mainland is not known. The shock was faint at Lymington, but at Jersey it was strong enough to displace books. For this catalogue the epicentre has been tentatively placed NE of Alderney, but the uncertainty is very great.


Sources: Mourant (1931).


31 January 1888 Birmingham


Felt throughout Birmingham and as far away as Coventry and Leamington Spa. Most of the effects reported are rattling of windows and items on dressing tables, but there is one report of a cracked ceiling at Hartshill. Epicentre east of Birmingham. It is tempting to speculate that this was the earthquake that started Charles Davison on his career of monitoring British earthquakes, since he lived in Edgbaston at this time, and started his investigations the following year.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984c).


2 February 1888 Invergarry


For many years this was misidentified as an Inverness earthquake, and the Great Glen Fault was cited as responsible. In fact the epicentre was N of the upper end of Glen Garry, well away from the Great Glen fault. Little damage was reported; this is not surprising considering that the epicentre was in a remote mountainous area where there was little to be damaged. There were some cases of damage to plaster at Fort William. The assertion that the roof of the railway station at Fort Augustus collapsed is spurious. Practically the whole of Scotland north of the Central Valley, including Edinburgh and Glasgow, was affected by the shock; it was felt at Thurso but no reports from the Orkneys have been found. It was certainly felt in the Inner Hebrides and possibly in the Outer. It was preceeded by two small foreshocks and a long, well documented series of aftershocks that lasted up until 1899.


Sources: Musson et al (1987).


11 April 1888 Corwen


Felt over most of N Wales east of Caernarvon and north of Dolgellau, also felt in Wrexham and Oswestry. The shock was strongest in the Corwen-Denbigh area. In Denbigh people rushed out in alarm; there was similar alarm in Corwen where bottles and crockery fell from shelves and furniture was moved. The epicentre was probably between Corwen and Ruthin. In the catalogue values are given for isoseismals 3, 4 and 5 MSK; that for 4 MSK is somewhat conjectural.


Sources: BGS material.


19 July 1888 Lockerbie


This was the first of a series of small shocks in the Lockerbie area extending over the next nine years. It was felt over an area stretching between Annan and Galashiels. At one place (Applegarth) some plaster fell; there was no other damage.


Sources: Musson (1987).


18 January 1889 Edinburgh


This seems to have been the first earthquake studied by Charles Davison. Although small, it is well documented since much of its felt area extended over a major city, allowing one to examine intensity suburb by suburb. There are four reports of plaster falling, all of which are more or less dubious. Otherwise the strongest effects were clocks stopping and starting, doors shutting, and alarm. The epicentre was on the N side of the Pentland Hills, near Harperrig. The shock was felt as far north as Dunfermline and as far south as Peebles.


Sources: BGS material.


10 February 1889 Bolton


With an epicentre just north of Bolton, this earthquake was felt over a roughly circular area 50 km in radius around Bolton. Crockery was smashed in a few cases at Bolton and Darwen. The isoseismal areas given here should be regarded as provisonal only.


Sources: Davison (1891), Principia (1982).


30 May 1889 Normandy


This earthquake was felt over a very wide area of N France and S England. In England it was perceptible from Penzance to London, and one isolated report comes from as far north as near Worcester. In France the eastern limit was Paris, but the western limit is uncertain. Slight damage is reported from both sides of the Channel - at Cherbourg and Lisieux in France and at Portsmouth in England. The shock was quite strong in the Channel Islands. The epicentre was probably just off the N coast of France, between Cherbourg and Caen.


Sources: Mourant (1931), Lambert (1988), Vogt (1979), Principia (1982), BGS material.


15 July 1889 Kintyre


This is perhaps the largest of the various shocks known to have had epicentres on the Kintyre Peninsula. It was felt over more or less the whole peninsula as far south as Campbeltown, on NW Arran, and on the Isle of Gigha. It caused some alarm, but apparently little physical effect beyond the shaking of furniture.


Sources: Principia (1982).


15 November 1890 Inverness


This earthquake was felt over most of Northern Scotland, the southern limit of perceptibility being Perth; it was weakly observed at Aberdeen and just reached the north and west coasts. There was minor damage caused in Inverness: a few chimneys were damaged, some slates and loose stones fell, and there were cracks in plaster and falls of plaster in some houses. Some slight damage occurred elsewhere in the Inverness district, as far away as Beauly. There were three foreshocks and numerous (at least eighteen) aftershocks lasting until 14 December 1890; four of these aftershocks appear in the catalogue. The epicentre seems not to have been on the Great Glen fault itself, but just north of it in the Aird district, SW of Inverness.


Sources: Musson et al (1987).


4 March 1892 Ullapool


Felt over an area running from Lochinver to Inverbroom. At Ullapool houses were shaken, as was a ship taking on ballast. The centre of the known felt area is near Ben More Coigach, but given the irregular population distribution, there must be some uncertainty as to the actual epicentre. The position given here is, however, similar to the location of more recent swarm earthquakes near Ullapool in 1987.


Sources: Principia (1982).


17 June 1892 Helston


Broadly similar to the 1842 Helston earthquake in the area affected. Doors were thrown open but no more severe effects are reported. The epicentre seems to have been near Wendron.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


18 August 1892 Pembroke


The area most affected by this earthquake was Wales and the Cornubian Peninsula, but the event was also felt in Ireland (principally in the SE) and weakly in western England. It was not felt further to the NE than Birmingham, though there is an isolated observation from Surrey. There was slight damage only in the epicentral area (one chimney, a few stones, some plaster), but disturbances to the water of Milford Haven were observed, also effects on springs. The epicentre was probably in Milford Haven.


There were a number of aftershocks, two of which are included in this catalogue. The largest was felt as far away as Knighton, St Austell and Wexford. It is difficult to get much information on the maximum intensity of these aftershocks, since most descriptions simply say that they were much less severe than the main shock. But neither of them seem to have been very strong, and the large felt areas, and therefore large magnitudes, are surprising. The magnitudes given here may be overstated.


Sources: Musson et al (1984a).


4 August 1893 Leicester


A well-documented event. It was felt in the Leicester area and as far away as Burton-upon-Trent and Stamford. The only case of damage was a single wall cracked at Hickling. Otherwise the worst effects were ornaments falling and people rushing from their houses in the area immediately to the north and west of Leicester. The distribution of intensities overall was rather irregular, commented upon at the time. The epicentre was near Woodhouse Eaves, NW of Leicester.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984c).


2 November 1893 Carmarthen


Just over a year after the 1892 Pembroke earthquake, an event of similar size occurred with an epicentre just SW of Carmarthen, only about 25 km E of the 1892 epicentre. Curiously, while the effects of the 1892 earthquake were felt most strongly to the south, those of the 1893 event were much stronger to the north, suggesting a different pattern of energy radiation and thus different focal mechanisms.


Again, damage was slight. A few chimneys were damaged and some plaster fell, the area of damage extending from Cardigan to Swansea, with one isolated damage report outside this area (Ironbridge, Shrops.). There was no damage at Carmarthen itself. The waters of the Towy estuary were disturbed by the shock.


The limits of the felt area are: north - near Lancaster; east - near Market Harborough plus an isolated report from London; south - Gunnislake on the Cornwall/Devon border; west - Tullow, Ireland.


Sources: Musson et al (1984a).


12 January 1894 Fort William


This event is hard to interpret. There are felt reports from the Fort William - Glencoe area and the Glen Moidart - Arisaig area, but only negative observations in between. It seems likely that there were two near-simultaneous events, rather than one earthquake with an epicentre near Glenfinnan. The eastern event is assumed to have an epicentre near Fort William; the western one is too small to warrant inclusion in the catalogue. The felt effects were limited to waking a few sleepers.


Excluding the traces left on seismoscopes by a few Comrie earthquakes between 1840 and 1846, this was the first British earthquake to be recorded by a seismometer. Unfortunately, the record, the instrument, and even the site of the Fort William Observatory where it was housed, have all disappeared completely.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


23 January 1894 Exmoor


Felt over all of Exmoor. Poorly documented. May have caused landslips along the N Devon coast, otherwise no effects stronger than the rattling of crockery. Epicentre S of Lynton?


Sources: Musson (1989c).


17 December 1896 Hereford


The felt area of this earthquake covered almost all of England and Wales; as far east as Norwich, and as far north as Kendal (and possibly further at very low intensity). It was felt weakly in E Ireland and in Cornwall. Significant damage was caused at Hereford and in the neighbourhood. In Hereford itself there was slight damage to the cathedral and other churches, chiefly the fall of small bits of ornamental stonework. More than 200 chimneys in Hereford were damaged, many were twisted. The worst damage was in villages just to the east of Hereford. According to Davison (1899) there were 73 places where "marked" damage to buildings occurred, 55 in Herefordshire, seventeen in Gloucestershire and one in Worcestershire. Isolated damage occurred at such places as Hay-on-Wye, Stourbridge and Worcester, and in some cases even further afield in places where generally the intensity was quite low.


The epicentre was about 6 km ESE of Hereford. There was a sequence of foreshocks in the six hours preceding the main shock, two of which seem to have been quite substantial and are included in this catalogue, although the magnitude determination is probably not very accurate. The exact number of foreshocks is uncertain - since all occurred at night it is likely that the time observations are not very good and some of those listed by Davison (1899) are surely duplicates. The aftershocks are fewer and weaker.


It was alleged in some newspapers that a woman died of fright at Hereford, but this is denied by local sources. However, an apparently reliable source states that a woman at Hagley (a village just E of Hereford) suffered a stroke shortly after the earthquake, so the report may have some foundation after all.


The occurrence of the earthquake coincided almost exactly with the appearence of a bright meteor over much of the affected area This is not the only instance of such a coincidence, but it is the best observed one.


The earthquake is very well documented, since for this event Charles Davison published the results of his macroseismic survey in extenso in book form.


Sources: Davison (1899), Principia (1982), BGS material.


1 April 1898 Helston


In the Ponsanooth-Helston-Stithians area plaster fell, objects were displaced, and railway trucks buffered against one another. The felt area was more or less restricted to the area north of the Lizard Peninsula. There was at least one foreshock and a number of aftershocks until 10 April. The epicentre was probably between Helston and Stithians.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


18 December 1899 Glen Quoich


This was the last and largest of the sequence of shocks following the 1888 Invergarry earthquake. The epicentre was somewhere near Loch Quoich and the shock was felt as far away as Corpach (near Fort William). There are little data on the felt effects, not surprising considering the remoteness of the area.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


14 November 1900 Skipton


The places from which this earthquake are reported are all in Airedale from Skipton to Bradford, with the exception of Ripon, 40 km to the NE. At Skipton people were alarmed, and at Steeton a few books fell and a bottle was overturned.


Sources: Principia (1982).


9 July 1901 Carlisle


This earthquake was felt over a N-S elliptical area covering the whole of the Lake District and extending into Scotland to north of Langholm. In addition, there is one isolated observation from Leeds. The epicentre was about 10 km S/SW of Carlisle, in the vicinty of Caldbeck and Thursby, where very slight damage was done.


Sources: Musson et al (1984b).


18 September 1901 Inverness


Eleven years after the 1890 Inverness earthquake a similar but larger event occurred. The felt area on this occasion extended south of the Firth of the Forth as far as Dunbar and was generally perceptible (intensity 4 MSK) in Perth and Aberdeen. There was substantial amounts of minor damage, mostly to chimney pots and plaster, in Inverness and to the south and west of the city. There were few instances of any falling masonry, though there was plenty of secondary damage caused by falling chimney pots on their way down. At least one photograph was made of the damage, now lost, though a drawing based on it survives. A long crack occurred in the towpath of the Caledonian canal at Dochgarroch, S of Inverness; this was certainly a ground effect and not fault rupture. Small amounts of damage occurred as far away as Keith.


There was a very large number of aftershocks (more than 50) and about ten foreshocks. The principal aftershock occurred about 2 hours after the main shock and may have been felt as far away as Crieff. The aftershock sequence continued until 12 November 1901.


The epicentre seems to have been at Dochgarroch. Though this lies on the Great Glen fault, this does not necessarily mean that fault was responsible; it is possible that a branch fault trending N-S was responsible for both the 1890 and 1901 sequence (and perhaps the 1816 events as well). The earthquake was not instrumenatlly recorded at Edinburgh, Paisley or Fort William - probably due to the extreme insensitivity of the instruments deployed.


Sources: Musson et al (1987).


13 April 1902 Doncaster


This appears to be a precursor of the 1905 Doncaster event. It was generally felt only in the Goole - Doncaster - Scunthorpe area, but noticed at low intensity as far away as Leeds and Beverley. Davison (1924) remarks on the contrast between wide felt area and low intensity indicating depth of focus. Heavy furniture shook at Crowle; there is no indication that any more severe effect occurred.


Sources: Principia (1982), Davison (1924).


14 October 1902 Moidart


This earthquake was felt over the areas of Knoydart, Morvern, Lochaber and Appin, and on the N shore of Mull. It may have been felt further west as well. Slight damage was caused at Shiel Bridge (S end of Loch Shiel). The epicentre was in the Moidart area.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


24 March 1903 Derby


The felt area of this earthquake extends from Hoylake (Cheshire) to Boston (Lincs) and from Richmond (Yorks) to near Kettering (Northants). The epicentre was a few km NE of Ashbourne. There was slight damage to a few chimneys, bricks falling, plaster cracking, windows breaking etc in few instances in the Ashbourne - Uttoxeter - Matlock - Alfreton - Derby area. A spring at Hognaston, between Ashbourne and Wirksworth, was rendered turbid. This was the first British earthquake for which there is a surviving seismogram. The recording instrument in question was an Omori at Birmingham.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984c), instrumental.


19 June 1903 Caernarvon


Most of the felt reports of this earthquake are from NW Wales, but it was also felt elsewhere in N Wales and slightly in Cheshire, Lancashire, the Isle of Man, the east coast of Ireland and possibly Carmarthen. The outermost observations are due to questionnaire responses collected by Charles Davison. The effects in the epicentral region are well documented by MS as well as newspaper evidence. Slight damage was caused at and S of Caernarvon, and scree slopes were set in motion on Snowdon and at Blaenau Ffestiniog. There were numerous aftershocks. The epicentre appears to be SW of Caernarvon, in Caernarvon Bay, possibly similar to the epicentre of the 1992 Caernarvon earthquake.


Sources: Musson et al (1984e), instrumental.


3 March 1904 Penzance


Epicentre offshore, just south of St Michael's Mount. The felt area was restricted to the west end of Cornwall (west of Helston). There was no damage, but furniture was shifted, shop goods disarranged, hanging objects fell down, etc.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


21 June 1904 Leicester


The problem with this earthquake is identifying the epicentre. The centre of the felt area is 15 km SE of Leicester, the one foreshock was felt only at two villages NW of Leicester, and an apparent aftershock was felt only at Melton Mowbray and Waltham on the Wolds, well to the NE. A compromise has been adopted here; considering, in addition, the large discrepancy between instrumental and macroseismic epicentre in the case of the 30 May 1984 earthquake in the same area, the uncertainty is considerable. The felt area extends from Loughborough to Kettering and nothing more severe than rattling is reported from anywhere.


Sources: Principia (1982), Davison (1924).


3 July 1904 Derby


The epicentre of this earthquake is only a few kilometres west of that of the 24 March 1903 event; to which it is similar in many respects. The 1904 earthquake was felt slightly further in every direction than the 1903 earthquake, but this is largely because it occurred in the quiet of a Sunday afternoon, when conditions were optimum for observing the low intensity effects. There was less damage in 1904 - a few chimneys pots fell at Alsager and Stoke-on-Trent, and one or two other places.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984c).


18 September 1904 Dunoon


The felt area was largely restricted to the Cowal Peninsula, Bute, and Loch Fyneside. The strongest effects were in and near Dunoon: doors forced open, heavy furniture shifted, dishes broken, things off shelves, etc. The epicentre was probably near Colintraive.


Sources: Musson and Redmayne (1986).


20 January 1905 St Agnes


A poorly documented, little observed and poorly located nocturnal earthquake. It was felt along the north coast of Cornwall roughly between Camborne and Newquay, and as far inland as Truro, but effects were slight. The epicentre was somewhere offshore from St Agnes.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


23 April 1905 Doncaster


The felt area of the 1905 Doncaster earthquake extended from Scarborough in the north and Spilsby (Lincs) in the east, to Bolton (Lancs) in the west and near Kettering (Northants) in the south; some dubious reports would extend this even further to Norwich, Liverpool and Gloucestershire. There was very little damage, except to the platform roof at Doncaster Railway station, where several of the supporting iron pillars were dislodged. The epicentre was a little to the SE of Doncaster.


Sources: Burton et al (1984), instrumental.


21 September 1905 Ochil Hills


The best-known period of Ochil Hills earthquake activity was that extending over the period 1900-1916, studied by Charles Davison (1916). This event was the first of the larger events of the sequence. It caused considerable alarm in the Alva - Alloa area, but no damage, although one report says that tiles were loosened at Alloa. A chair was knocked over at Greenloaning, on the N side of the Ochils Hills. Many reports place emphasis on the extremely loud explosion-like sound that accompanied the shock. To the north it was perceptible in the St Fillans area; to the south the felt area petered out rapidly around Falkirk.


Sources: BGS material.


27 June 1906 Swansea


This was one of the most damaging earthquakes in Britain this century. The area where slight damage to chimneys and walls occurred stretches from Kidwelly to Cardiff and inland to Merthyr Tydfil (plus a few more distant reports). Locally within this area intensity 7 MSK was reached, including at Swansea itself, where the damage, especially to chimneys, was considerable. Two people were injured at Swansea. The shock was felt strongly in the mines of the S Wales coalfield, and some pits stopped work for safety checks.


The outer limits of the felt area were Harrogate in the north, Maidenhead (Berks) in the east, Penzance in the south and Waterford in the west. The epicentre was near Swansea, probably offshore. There is a curious lack of aftershocks.


Sources: Musson et al (1984a), instrumental.


27 August 1906 Derby


Epicentre near Matlock Bath, where the shock was alarming and caused some people to run into the streets. At Middleton bags of corn were overturned. It was felt as far away as Stone, in Staffordshire; the felt area also extends into Leicestershire.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984c).


17 January 1907 Oban


Generally felt over an area demarcated by Tobermory, Fort William, Balquidder and Helensburgh, this event was also slightly felt at Glenelg and Kinloch (near Blairgowrie). The epicentre was south of Oban, near the villages of Kilmelford and Kilninver, at which some slight damage was caused - mostly slight cracks in plaster and a few slates down, though one stable wall was cracked through from top to bottom.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d).


26 June 1907 Holyhead


The shock affected "many parts of Anglesey" and an unknown amount of sea to the west. The offshore nature of the epicentre is indicated by the aftershock the same evening, felt only at the S end of Holy Island. At Holyhead pictures fell and crockery was broken; at Bodedern a cyclist was knocked over.


Sources: BGS material.


3 July 1908 Dunoon


This event was felt mostly between Helensburgh and Inveraray, but also as far afield as Kilninver (on the west coast) and the Trossachs. There is a single anomalous report from Pitlochry which may be due to some other cause. Stones fell from an old mill near Inveraray. The epicentre is poorly located - possibly somewhere near Loch Eck.


Sources: Musson and Redmayne (1986).


20 October 1908 Ochil Hills


One of the larger Ochil Hills swarm events. At Tillicoultry "whole shelves of dishes were broken", but no damage to buildings. The shock was perceptible as far away as Falkirk and Bo'ness, plus there is a single distant report from West Linton (oddly enough, there is a similar anomalously distant report from West Linton for the 21 September 1905 event).


Sources: Musson et al (1984d).


30 July 1909 Moidart


This was the strongest of a series of four events at the western end of Loch Shiel. A church bell rang, there was slight damage to plaster and two people lost their balance. The extent of the felt area is very poorly documented and may be larger than given here.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d), Musson (1989b).


14 December 1910 Glasgow


This is an exceptionally well-documented earthquake thanks to an investigation by Professor JW Gregory, who not only published an excellent paper on the earthquake, but also preserved the questionnaire data he collected in the Archives of Glasgow University. The epicentre was in the NW suburbs of Glasgow, in the Hillhead-Maryhill area. Effects in this area extended to the overthrow of insecurely-placed crockery, some slight cracking of plaster and a few chimney pots dislodged. The felt area is bounded by Lochwinnoch, Dumbarton, Strathblane and East Kilbride, though there are suspect reports from further afield, including Kilcreggan, Stirling and Dunblane.


Sources: Gregory (1911), Soil Mechanics (1982).


16 May 1911 Grasmere


Felt in the central and eastern parts of the Lake District. The highest intensity effects were observed on the south side of Ullswater, and included water spilling, crockery knocked down and a door banging. The epicentre is uncertain, but probably near Grasmere.


Sources: BGS material.


28 January 1912 Inveraray


This is a very difficult event to interpret, and it appears almost certain that two earthquakes occurred virtually simultaneously - a small earthquake in the Ochil Hills and a larger one in the west of Scotland. The western event was felt from Iona to Paisley and as far south as Campbeltown, but nowhere at intensities higher than 4 MSK. Probably the epicentre was W of Loch Fyne and the focus deep.


Sources: Musson and Redmayne (1986).


3 May 1912 Ochil Hills


Of the protracted sequence of Ochil Hills earthquakes in the early years of the 20th century, this was the event that produced the highest intensities. Plaster was dislodged at Dunblane and at Glendevon roof slates were loosened and walls and ceilings were cracked. The shock was quite perceptible in the Comrie district and some newspapers assumed this was another Comrie earthquake. Isolated observers reported the shock as far away as Glasgow and Musselburgh. It is interesting to note reports from Alva, where many ran out of doors, that the frequency of shocks meant that people were getting used to them, and thus the threshold of alarm had been raised significantly since the first shocks around 1900.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d).


7 April 1913 Inveraray


Poorly reported - felt Inveraray and Lochgilphead, with dishes being thrown down at the former place. Epicentre presumed to be somewhere near Inveraray.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d), Musson (1989b).


1 July 1914 Tavistock


A curious event - felt at a number of places in the Tavistock area but also at Teignmouth on the other side of Dartmoor, with no reports from anywhere in between. Windows shook and china rattled at Tavistock and Plymouth. It is possible this was not an earthquake, but artillery practice on Dartmoor.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


2 October 1915 Carlisle


Although this earthquake was recorded instrumentally at Eskdalemuir and has an instrumental magnitude, this is in considerable disagreement with the macroseismic magnitude and both are given. It was felt over most of the Lake District and much of southern Scotland. The distribution of felt effects was rather irregular. There was no structural damage, but furniture was toppled at Annan and a stone wall fell near Cockermouth. The epicentre was probably near Annan, or between Annan and Carlisle.


Sources: Musson (1987).


19 December 1915 Arrochar


Felt in the area between Gare Loch and Dalmally. Windows were broken at Arrochar.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d).


14 January 1916 Stafford


The epicentre of this earthquake was a few kilometres W or SW of Stafford, and the highest intensity at Chebsey, where considerable damage was done to many buildings. Some chimney pots and tiles fell at Stafford, and damage was also reported from Newport and some other places in the vicinity. Wells in the area were affected, becoming muddy or having their flow increased.


The limits of the felt area, according to Davison (1919), are from Lancaster in the north to Bristol in the south, and from Cardiff in the west possibly as far as Norwich in the east.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984c), instrumental.


2 September 1920 Ilfracombe


Felt in the Exmoor area; at least one chimney was damaged by the shock, and the light at the Morte Lighthouse is said to have been extinguished. The shock was felt on board vessels in the Bristol Channel. Epicentre near Ilfracombe, probably to the SE.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


25 July 1921 Comrie


In the early 1920s there was a slight resuscitation of earthquake activity at Comrie, of which this appears to be the largest event, being felt as far away as Callander, where some crockery was displaced. In Glenartney, SW of Comrie, a ceiling fell in one house. A preceding shock on 30 April 1921 was strongly felt in Comrie, and caused a

sandbank near Comrie Golf Course to collapse, supposedly nearly burying (at any rate, scaring) a passing girl.


Sources: Principia (1982), Dollar (1950).


21 September 1923 Cromer


This event illustrates that even in the 20th century there is considerable difficulty in dealing with offshore earthquakes. This one was felt at Cromer and a few neighbouring parishes, but not far inland; it was chiefly noticeable on upper floors only. The epicentre is evidently offshore, but how far is pure guesswork, as is the total felt area and thus the magnitude. The only constraint on the magnitude is provided by the lack of an instrumental record (the Daily Mail telegraphed Eskdalemuir Observatory to ascertain if it had been recorded; the telegram has been preserved).


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


25 December 1923 South Brent


An extremely well-documented earthquake felt over Dartmoor and South Devon. Plates and pictures fell to the floor in and around South Brent. The event seems to have been the culmination of a long series of smaller shocks over the previous few years. The epicentre was on Dartmoor.


Sources: Musson (1989c).


26 January 1924 Hereford


Felt between Hereford, Worcester and Leominster. Epicentre south of Bromyard, where books were thrown down at the local school.


Sources: Principia (1982).


6 March and 4 April 1924 Mansfield


These are the two largest of a series of Mansfield earthquakes starting on 3 March 1924 and lasting until 20 April 1924. The 6 March event caused slight damage at Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield (fall of chimney pots, tiles and bricks in a few cases).


The 4 April event caused considerable damage at South Normanton, one contemporary describing the town as looking as if it had been bombed. Its felt area reached roughly from Sheffield to Nottingham.


A word is in order about the magnitudes of these two events. The second had a higher epicentral intensity, and was felt over a wider area overall than the first, but comparing the areas felt at intensity 4 the first seems slightly the larger. According to the bulletin of Stonyhurst Observatory the 4 April event and the subsequent (much smaller) 19 April event were both recorded; from the bulletin entry Neilson and Burton (1985) derive magnitudes of 3.7 and 4.0 ML respectively. This is a misrepresentation, since the times given in the bulletin do not agree with the known times of the Mansfield earthquakes, and therefore the instrumental traces arose from some other cause.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984c).


24 October 1924 Birmingham


The felt area was more or less restricted to the present Birmingham conurbation. Very minor damage was done in Birmingham and Edgbaston; buildings affected included the BBC studios at New St and the church of St Barnabas, Ladywood. The shock was recorded by JJ Shaw at West Bromwich, but unfortunately all the West Bromwich seismograms have disappeared (presumed destroyed).


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


1 February 1925 Brittany


The epicentre of this large offshore earthquake is poorly determined, but lies somewhere at the W end of the English Channel, between Cornwall and Brittany. It was widely perceptible in Cornwall and Brittany, and was felt in England as far east as the Weymouth area, and in France as far east as Rennes. There were isolated instances of damage at two places in Cornwall.


Sources: Ambraseys (1985), BGS material, instrumental.


23 December 1925 Oban


Similar to a number of other events in this area, the lack of high intensities from this earthquake suggests a relatively deep focus. The intensity was 5 MSK at Appin (dishes fell from shelves) and this was the most severe effect observed. To the NE, the earthquake was faintly perceptible as far as Inverness and Speyside, and to the S, it was noticed in Paisley and Ardrossan.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d).


30 July 1926 Channel Islands


This strong earthquake was felt throughout NW France and as far E as Paris, and along the S coast of England, principally in Dorset and Devon, but as far east as Hove, Sussex. The epicentre was between Jersey and the Cotentin coast. In Jersey there was much damage of a slight nature, plaster cracking, windows breaking, etc. A church spire was damaged and some few chimneys fell. A small amount of damage was also caused in France.


Sources: Mourant (1931), Ambraseys (1985), instrumental.


15 August 1926 Ludlow


The felt area of this large West of England earthquake stretches roughly from Plymouth to Hull, with an epicentre close to the villages of Little Hereford and Tenbury Wells, east of Ludlow. Only slight damage occurred, mostly to chimneys in the epicentral area. The distribution of intensities is eccentric, with an irregular band of intensity 5 MSK running from Somerset to Lincoln.


Sources: Musson et al (1984a), instrumental.


24 January 1927 North Sea


The Viking Graben - S Mre Basin area of the northern North Sea is the most seismically active part of the North Sea in recent years, and this earthquake is the largest of the Viking Graben events at least since 1508. It was felt extensively throughout Western Norway, just reaching slightly into Sweden, was felt throughout most of Scotland (excluding the west coast), and down the E English coast as far as Scarborough. There is also one isolated report from Leicestershire and an uncertain report that it was felt on the N Norfolk coast.


There were scattered reports of isolated instances of damage in Scotland, some of which are demonstrably false and others doubtful. The most credible report is that some ceiling plaster fell in Forres. Reports in the British press of serious damage in Norway are wildly exaggerated; there was no damage in Norway bar the fall of a drystone wall at Bo.


Sources: Musson et al (1986b), instrumental.


27 January 1927 Colintraive


This earthquake was generally felt over the Cowal - Kintyre area, and was just perceptible as far away as Bridge of Allan in the east, and Prestwick in the south, with two slightly doubtful reports from Dumfriesshire. The epicentre was between Colintraive and Lochgilphead. Slates fell off a roof at Tighnabruaich, glass was broken at Victoria Hospital, Rothesay, and part of a (weakened) church wall fell down at Tarbet.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d).


17 February 1927 Channel Islands


The epicentre of this earthquake appears to be the same as that of the 30 July 1926 event some 6 months previously - E of Jersey, near the W coast of Cotentin, France. The magnitude was slightly smaller and the maximum intensity certainly less. There was very little damage reported in Jersey, mostly confined to plaster and in many cases probably exploiting weaknesses caused by the 30 July 1926 event. The earthquake was felt at low intensities along the S coast of England from Falmouth, Cornwall, to Worthing, Sussex, and also slightly in London and Newbury, Berks. The limits of perceptibility in France seem to be Lisieux in the E and Lorient in the SW.


As with the 27 December 1896 Hereford earthquake, something like a meteor was observed at the same time as the earthquake.


Sources: Mourant (1931), Ambraseys (1985), instrumental.


19 November 1927 Normandy


This strong French earthquake had an epicentre near Flers, Orne (S of Calvados). It was felt over most of NW France but caused little damage. It was only weakly felt in the Channel Islands and may have been felt also (very slightly) at Christchurch, Hants.


Sources: Mourant (1931), Ambraseys (1985), instrumental.


2 July 1929 Cinderford


Felt in the Forest of Dean between Monmouth and Gloucester. At Lydney furniture was moved and people ran out in alarm; at Newnham a three-storey school suffered a crack from top to bottom of one wall, and a girl leaning on a gate felt it sway.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


25 August 1930 Neath


The epicentre was E of Neath; at Skewen and Glyngorrwg people ran out of their houses, boulders were dislodged from the hillside at Duffryn, and crockery fell at Skewen. The shock was felt as far as Llanelli and Porthcawl. The time of this earthquake is only given as "last night" in the sources to hand, so a notional time of 21h has been assigned. Curiously, there were also two small S Wales mining events on the same day felt at Treharris, Merthyr Vale, at 04h and 05h.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


3 May 1931 Manchester


A small event in a coal-mining area which nevertheless caused considerable damage. Hundreds of chimneys were damaged in the Pendlebury area of Manchester. The shock was felt as far away as Bolton and Altrincham.


Sources: Burton et al (1984), instrumental.


7 June 1931 North Sea


This is the largest UK earthquake for which a magnitude can be calculated or reliably estimated; it is thus rather fortunate that the epicentre was offshore in the Dogger Bank area. The felt area encompassed virtually the whole of Great Britain, the E of Ireland (there is anecdotal evidence of it being felt as far west as Londonderry), N France, Belgium, the Netherlands, parts of NW Germany, Denmark and SW Norway. The outer limits might be better determined had the event not happened in the middle of the night. Damage in Britain was reported from 71 different places, mostly along the E coast of England. The strongest effects were observed at Filey, Bridlington, Beverley and Hull. The top of a church spire was rotated at Filey. Although there were numbers of cases of chimneys and plaster being damaged, at no place were the effects sufficiently severe to be assessed unequivocably as 7 MSK. Slight damage was caused as far afield as Sudbury, Suffolk, Barnsley, Yorks. and Wooler, Northumberland. The complete collapse of a factory roof at Staines (Surrey) was attributed to the earthquake, though there is some doubt on this issue.


There were some geotechnical observations: rocks fell from the cliffs at Flamborough Head and there were falls of cliff at Mundesley, Norfolk. There were also some curious reports of lights seen in the sky at the time of the shock. The shock was reported as being felt on board ship by a number of vessels in the N Sea.


One woman in Hull seems to have died of a heart attack as a result of the earthquake.


Sources: Neilson et al (1986), instrumental.


13 January 1932 Pwllheli


Felt over most of the Lleyn Peninsula as far N as Clynnog. The epicentre appears to be near the village of Bodfuan, where the shock knocked a kettle off the hob in one house.


Sources: BGS material.


25 May 1932 Sheffield


Felt chiefly in the Hope Valley W of Sheffield, but apparently also at Doncaster and as far N as Leeds. At Stannington an empty beer barrel fell off a gantry. Epicentre presumed to be in the hills N of the Hope Valley.


Sources: Principia (1982).


14 January 1933 Wensleydale


This earthquake was felt over most of England north of the Mersey, but there is no good evidence for it having been felt in Scotland (it may have been at very low intensities). There is one report from a lighthouse in the Isle of Man. The strongest effects are from Upper Wensleydale, where plaster fell from ceilings, slates from roofs and some chimney pots fell at places like Askrigg, Bainbridge and Hawes. There was much alarm, both to villagers and farm animals.


Sources: Burton et al (1984), instrumental.


12 April 1933 Normandy


Both Ambraseys (1985) and Neilson and Burton (1988) calculate an Ms magnitude of 3.8 for this earthquake, but according to the latter source the ML magnitude was 5.2 (on four observations - the Ms magnitude being on one observation). The epicentre was in the Cotentin area. The earthquake was felt at moderate intensity in the Channel Islands. The author has no evidence to hand to suggest the intensity was higher than 5 MSK anywhere, if that high, nor does it appear the shock was felt anywhere in England. The magnitude seems to be rather uncertain; 5.2 ML seems incompatible with the limited felt effects. Probably 4 - 4 is more likely.


Sources: Mourant (1937), Ambraseys (1985), instrumental.


23 April 1933 Canterbury


At Canterbury some sleepers were awakended and windows and doors rattled. It was also felt at Faversham, Whitstable and Margate and villages in the vicinity. The centre of the felt area is NE of Canterbury. Some catalogues give the year incorrectly as 1934.


Sources: BGS material.


17 March 1934 Bristol


Felt on both sides of the Bristol Channel in the Bristol - Newport area. "Alarming".


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


16 August 1934 Torridon


The felt area of this earthquake covers all of Scotland north of the Central Valley, including the Outer Hebrides. The macroseismic data from the sparsely populated Western Highlands do not permit a good location, but the evidence of a long aftershock sequence (extending into 1936) pins down the epicentre to the Torridon district. Ceilings were cracked at Kinlochewe - this is about the extent of the reported damage.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


9 July 1937 Walsall


Neilson and Burton (1985) give this event an instrumental magnitude of 4.0 ML on three observations, but on macroseismic evidence the magnitude does not look as if it should exceed 3.0 ML. It may be that this was a collapse event generating a large seismic signal. It was felt in the Walsall-Wolverhampton area and caused windows and crockery to rattle.


Sources: Principia (1982), instrumental.


21 March 1938 Heriot


Felt in Midlothian and as far south as Peebles. The strongest effect was the stopping of clocks at Oxenfoord. Epicentre along the north side of the Moorfoot Hills.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d), instrumental.


11 June 1938 Belgium


The epicentre of this earthquake was in the Zulzich - Nukerke area of Belgium, near Oudenarde, and the earthquake was extensively felt in Belgium, Netherlands and France, also in England and Germany. In England the extreme limits of observation were at Sheringham (Norfolk), Bedford and Plymouth. Damage was extensive - it is estimated that over 17500 chimneys were damaged in Belgium and a further 1400 in France. In the UK, the strongest intensities were felt along the SE coast of Kent, but it is unlikely that the intensity exceeded 4 MSK in England. The shock was felt quite generally in parts of London; this is the most recent event to date to be felt significantly in London.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984d), instrumental.


9 July 1940 Oban


A very poorly documented event. The epicentre was somewhere west of Oban; the felt area is very uncertain. It is possible the earthquake was felt as far away as Castlebay, Barra.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


14 July 1940 Coalville


This event was felt over the English Midlands within the Birmingham - Coventry - Leicester - Nottingham area. Ornaments fell at Coalville and there was a case of damage to plaster at Market Bosworth, 10 km to the south.


Sources: Principia (1982), instrumental.


2 February 1940 Stirling


The felt area of this event covers most of the Central Valley of Scotland. At Stirling objects, including a suitcase, were thrown from shelves, but damage was either none or minimal. There was an unusually strong foreshock eight minutes before the main shock. The epicentre was probably close to Stirling.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d), instrumental.


16 July 1940 Kilsyth


This earthquake was felt over an area similar to that of the previous one, with the addition of a single anomalous low-intensity observation in Strathspey. However, the epicentre of this event was clearly well to the south of the February event; the highest intensities were in the Kilsyth area. There was only one report of damage: at Carronbridge the gable of a house collapsed.


Sources: Musson et al (1984d), instrumental.


12 December 1940 North Wales


No damage was caused by this earthquake which has a rather poorly-located epicentre somewhere in NW Wales. The highest intensity was at Pwllheli, suggesting the epicentre to have probably been in the Lleyn Peninsula, though there was a series of further shocks next year in the Bethesda area, and it is possible that the epicentre of the 1940 earthquake was in this area. The shock was felt as far away as Liverpool and Aberystwyth. The death of an elderly woman at Criccieth was caused as a result of the earthquake (she fell downstairs), and this is the most recent earthquake-related death in the UK, excluding the 24 April 1942 Doncaster event listed in Neilson and Burton (1985) and Musson (1990), which was a mine explosion rather than an earthquake.


Sources: Musson et al (1984e), instrumental.


18 May 1941 Oban


Another very poorly documented event. The epicentre may have been near Kilmelford, south of Oban.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


8 September 1941 Stirling


Reported chiefly from the Stirling district and Alloa, it was also apparently felt as far SW as Bearsden. In Stirling many were awakened, some ornaments were thrown down and plaster was cracked slightly in one instance at Craigforth. This event was presumably related in some way to the Stirling/Kilsyth events of the previous year.


Sources: Dollar (1950), Principia (1982), BGS material.


30 December 1944 Skipton


The epicentre of this earthquake was probably within a few kilometres of the town of Skipton. There was a small amount of damage at Skipton and nearby villages: chimney pots and a few stones came down in a few cases. The earthquake was generally perceptible from coast to coast in N England; it was felt as far north as Carlisle and Jarrow, and possibly in Scotland; to the south it reached Birmingham and one report came from near Stroud.


Sources: Burton et al (1984), instrumental.


25 December 1946 Lochaber


At the time of this earthquake it was attributed to the Great Glen Fault; this is unlikely to be the case since the epicentre was in Glen Roy. The shock was felt over the central and southern Highlands but caused only very slight damage at a few locations. It was

not recorded instrumentally. A questionnaire survey was conducted for this earthquake by ATJ Dollar, the records of which have survived.


Sources: Musson et al (1987).


28 May 1948 East Anglia


This earthquake was felt over more or less the whole of East Anglia and as far west as Kettering, although mostly at very low intensities. The epicentre seems to have been somewhere between Downham Market and Ely. There were no high intensity effects or damage and the event would be very poorly documented were it not for the study of Alexander (1949). It would be interesting to compare this event with some of the medieval earthquakes felt in E Anglia had one but more data on the latter.


Sources: Alexander (1949), BGS material, instrumental


31 May 1948 Ullapool


The poor documentation of this event illustrates the difficulty of dealing with earthquakes in the remoter parts of Scotland. The shock was strong enough to displace objects in the Ullapool area and was perceptible as far south as Dalwhinnie.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


9 January 1950 Dover Straits


The most recent event of any significance in the Dover Straits, in the area of the major 1382 and 1580 earthquakes, was this event, which caused some alarm in Calais. In England the intensity was nowhere higher than 4 MSK and it does not seem to have been felt very far inland.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984d), instrumental.


11 January 1951 Irish Sea


This is the only known Irish earthquake to be at all widely felt. The epicentre was offshore near Arklow, Co Wicklow, and the shock was felt over much of SE Ireland, as far north as Dundalk, and across the Irish Sea in Caernarvonshire. One old wall was reportedly knocked down at Brittas Bay, N of Arklow, but generally intensities did not rise above 4 MSK. Neilson and Burton (1985) give an instrumental magnitude of 3.7 ML on two readings; the macroseismic magnitude is a little higher.


Sources: Musson et al (1984).


23 April 1951 Tywyn


Felt along the shore of Cardigan Bay by many people from Barmouth to Aberystwyth and inland as far as Machynlleth. "Saucepans were flung from shelves". A more restricted shock, probably with a similar epicentre, occurred on 22 August 1955.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


22 February 1952 Winster


In 1952 a series of six or eight small tremors occurred, centred on the village of Winster in Derbyshire. The first was the strongest, causing the fall of some chimney stacks in Winster. Despite the high intensity, the felt area was very small, the largest estimate being 250 sq km. Local lead mineworkings were suspected, but investigations revealed no evidence of any collapse.


Sources: Principia (1982), BGS material.


11 March 1954 Bridlington


This shock was felt between Flamborough Head and Spurn Head and cracked the plaster of at least one ceiling at Bridlington. The epicentre was offshore in the Flamborough Head area; probably it was felt north of Flamborough Head as well, but the documentation of the event seems to be rather poor.


Sources: Principia (1982), instrumental.


4 December 1954 Ballachulish


Felt at Ballachulish, Port Appin and Kinlochleven - no damage. Nothing else known.


Sources: Musson (1989b).


10 January 1956 Ashby


The epicentre was in the Charnwood Forest area, and the shock was felt as far away as Peterborough. A vague report states that some chimneys were damaged in the Charnwood Forest area, otherwise the only reported damage was cracks in plaster at a couple of localities.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984c), instrumental.


5 May 1956 Ixworth


Felt chiefly in the Norwich - Bury St Edmunds - Ipswich area, probably also at Felixstowe. Reports that it was felt in Cambridge and London appear dubious. It was said not to have been felt in Essex nor at Lowestoft. Probably this was another Ixworth earthquake with epicentre similar to the earthquakes of 1859 and 1869. Reports of the felt effects are vague: "Picture frames swinging wildly, flower pots jumping and beds shaking alarmed many Suffolk people" is about the best indicator of effects in the epicentral area.The instrumental magnitude is very poorly determined.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


11 February 1957 Derby


Considering that this was the largest UK post-war earthquake until 1984, and one of the most damaging earthquakes this century, it is curious to see how it has largely slipped from public memory. It was generally felt over the whole of the English Midlands, and was reported from places as far away as Hartlepool, Pwllheli, Norwich and Topsham (near Exeter). Generally speaking, it was not much felt south of Gloucester, and there are no reports known from London.


The epicentre was near Castle Donington, about 10 km SE of Derby. There was widespread damage to chimneys and roofs in the Derby - Nottingham - Loughborough area, although within this area the damage was often localised - for instance, in Derby most of the damage occurred in a part of the older city about 5 sq km in area. A few people were hurt by falling masonry; one boy in Derby suffered a fractured skull. Damage was caused to Blackbrook Reservoir, about 10 km S of the epicentre, and relays were tripped at several power stations in the area.


There was a substantial aftershock at 23h 59m on 12 February , apparently the only aftershock, which generated further damage to buildings weakened by the main shock. This aftershock was felt from Hull to Gloucester and on the E coast of Norfolk, but strangely enough, does not seem to have been recorded instrumentally.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984c), instrumental.


9 February 1958 North Sea


This earthquake was felt over much of eastern England, mostly south of the Humber but reportedly as far north as North Shields. It was felt inland at least as far as Nottingham, and south as far as Elmstead (near Colchester). There was probably no damage (a wall falling at Lincoln may have fallen because of heavy rain rather than the earthquake) - the most severe effects reported were flower pots upset at Lincoln and Peterborough and alarm at Hunstanton. This earthquake is believed to have been felt by members of the Royal Family, who were staying at Sandringham at the time. The epicentre was off the Lincolnshire coast, possibly similar to that of the 23 August 1750 earthquake.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


1 June 1958 Leeds


Felt Keighley - York - Barnsley area. Little known about felt effects beyond houses shaking.


Sources: Principia (1982).


2 January 1959 Brittany


This rather large French earthquake is little known. The epicentre was off the coast of Brittany, and the shock was felt perceptibly as far away as Le Mans. The earthquake was also felt very weakly at a number of places in Devon.


Sources: Musson (1989c), Hbert (1959), instrumental.


25 October 1963 Chichester


Despite an instrumental magnitude of 4.7 ML, the felt effects of this earthquake were quite limited in extent, chiefly to Sussex and Hampshire. The macroseismic epicentre is at Hayling Island, between Portsmouth and Chichester. The instrumental epicentre is very poorly resolved. There was one questionable report of damage to ceiling plaster at Hayling Island.


Sources: Neilson et al (1984b), instrumental, BGS material.


7 March 1964 Glasgow


This event bears some resemblance to the 1910 Glasgow earthquake; the felt effects are similar and again the epicentre appears to be in the NW of the city. Damage to property was chiefly confined to cracks in plaster, mostly on upper floors. A few falls of plaster and slates were reported. Most of the damage was in the Drumchapel, Bearsden and Knightswood districts. It was felt as far away as Dumbarton and Kirkintilloch.


Sources: Bowes (1965), Agger and Key (1965).


8 July 1964 Chichester


Probably an aftershock of the Chichester earthquake of the previous year. Felt in the Emsworth - Chichester - Bognor Regis area only.


Sources: BGS material


23 July 1966 Helston


This event was the largest of many events that have occurred with epicentres in the Helston/Constantine area. It was felt as far away as the Scilly Isles in the west, and faintly in Exeter in the east. There was some minor damage to plaster in the epicentral area.


Sources: Musson (1989c), instrumental.


21 October 1969 Lochgilphead


Felt at Lochgilphead, Tarbert, Tayvallich and Point of Knapp. One report, which appears unreliable, states that it was also felt by everyone between Oban and Tarbet, and that "walls shook, furniture toppled, pictures fell from walls". The instrumental epicentre is at the extreme E edge of the reliable felt area, but is probably poorly determined; a more westerly position is given in the catalogue.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


29 December 1969 Caernarvon


This was the largest of three earthquakes felt in the Caernarvon area between 1967 and 1970. It was felt in the southern half of Anglesea and the Caernarvon - Bangor area. Felt effects were restricted to windows and doors rattling, etc.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.




In about 1970 instrumental monitoring of UK earthquakes was started by BGS (then the Institute of Geological Sciences). Many of the earthquakes exceeding magnitude 3 ML recorded since this date have been offshore earthquakes which were not felt, or onshore events which were either not felt or for which the macroseismics were not investigated in detail. No synopses are provided for these events.


13 January 1970 Chichester


This event was felt only in a restricted around (chiefly to the W of) Chichester. Cracks in the walls of a house at Slindon were enlarged, and a piece of already damaged plaster fell at Flansham, near Bognor Regis. Chichester Cathedral was checked for damage but none was found.


Sources: BGS material.


9 August 1970 Kirkby Stephen


This was the most recent of a series of events originating in the Pennines near the upper end of Wensleydale, and was similar in extent to the 1933 Wensleydale earthquake. It was felt throughout northern England, as far south as Manchester, and in southern Scotland as far as Galshiels and Hawick. Virtually no damage was done (possibly a house was cracked at Elterwater), and mostly the worst effects were windows breaking and furniture overturned.


Sources: Musson (1984b), instrumental.


7 March 1972 Todmorden


Widely felt in the Liverpool-Manchester area and as far away as Skipton, Rugby and Llangollen. There were isolated instances of damage in the Rochdale - Bacup area.


Sources: Burton et al (1984), instrumental.


9 February 1973 Fair Isle


The only felt reports are from Fair Isle itself. The lighthouses were shaken.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


23 January 1974 Bala


This event was widely felt over North Wales, and also felt in Merseyside and Cheshire. In the epicentral area the shock resembled an explosion, and there were various theories at the time that the shock was due to a meteorite or crashed aeroplane. The most severe effects, besides alarm, was the widening of a few old plaster cracks and the moving of crockery.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


6 and 10 August 1974 Kintail (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


In 1974 a series of many earthquake shocks occurred in the Kintail area of W Scotland. The largest events of this year took place on the 6 and 10 August. The felt effects are poorly documented, and where events occur on the same day it is difficult to adequately discriminate between one shock and another. Five events took place on 6 August; the felt area(s) seems to have been quite restricted to the immediate Kintail area, but this may also be a product of poor documentation. The effects of the shock(s) included dislodging boulders on the hillsides, objects falling off shelves and very minor damage to plaster.


The 10 August earthquake was also felt as far away as Dornoch and Forres, and was quite perceptible at Dingwall. At Glenshiel a garden wall collapsed. There are similar reports of minor falls of plaster and rocks falling down hillsides as with the 6 August event.


Sources: Musson (1989b), instrumental.


16 January 1975 Lewes


Possibly similar in epicentre to the 1864 Lewes earthquake. It was not recorded on LOWNET, and all parameters given here are macroseismically derived. It was felt especially strongly along the coast east of Brighton (Peacehaven - Newhaven) and there was a slight cliff fall at Peacehaven. It was also strong in the Heathfield area to the NE, where there were two claims of damage from cracking. The shock was felt offshore on board fishing trawlers. One observer reported a foreshock at about 03h at Seaford.


Sources: BGS material.


25 August 1975 Hereford


The felt effects are poorly recorded and the felt area reported here is a minimum only, consisting of an elliptical area around Hereford about 30 x 20 km, the long axis being WNW-ESE. The instrumental epicentre lies just outside this, about 20 km W of Hereford at the upper end of the Golden Valley. At Lugwardine, just E of Hereford, a door flew open and a light fitting fell off.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


27 November 1975 Kintail


The Kintail earthquake sequence continued into 1975, and a widely felt event occurred on 27 November. It was felt as far as Dingwall and Fort William, and westwards to Skye. The felt area seems elongated E-W, but this may be partly a factor of reporting. In the Kyle of Lochalsh area the shock was clearly perceptible out of doors, and there was minor damage to plaster. Supposedly a brick fell down a chimney somewhere on Skye.


Sources: Musson (1989b), instrumental.


3 November 1976 Widnes (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


Caused much alarm in the Widnes area, with office blocks being evacuated; however, the shock was strongest at the top of high-rise buildings, and the intensity at ground level was rather less. No damage was reported. The felt area was quite restricted; it was felt as far away as Chester, Crewe and Bolton. Possibly this was a collapse event, as one report seems to indicate a sinking of the ground coincident with the shock. This might also explain why the instrumental magnitude is much higher than the macroseismic magnitude.


Sources: Burton et al (1984), instrumental.


19 February 1979 Ochil Hills


The swarm activity in the Ochil Hills, so pronounced in 1900-1916, restarted in 1979 but only lasted a brief period. The largest event was felt in the villages north and south of the Ochil Hills and as far away as Perth, Callander and Stirling.. The earthquake is believed to have caused damage to installations at Glen Devon dam, in the centre of the Ochil Hills; this makes this earthquake one of three British events to have damaged dams, the other two being 23 October 1839 and 11 February 1957.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


26 December 1979 Carlisle (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


Also known as the Longtown earthquake, the Gretna earthquake, the Boxing Day earthquake, and (in Glasgow) the Glasgow earthquake. This is possibly the best known of recent British earthquakes, eclipsing the later (and stronger) events of 1984 and 1990. This may be due to the time of its occurrence - in the small hours of Boxing Day - which gave rise to much anecdote as people attempted to explain the shaking of their bedrooms in the context of their over-indulgence on Christmas Day.


The epicentre was close to the village of Longtown, near the Scottish-English border, and slight to moderate damage was sustained over an area running SE from the village of Canonbie, and including parts of Carlisle itself. Damage included the fall of chimneys and chimney stacks, fall of slates, and damage to plaster. Some of the buildings damaged in the immediate epicentral area appear to have been of strong construction and in good condition, indicating that the shock was indeed strong in this area. The distribution of effects of the earthquake is noticeable in that the main energy release seems to have been strongly directional to the NW. The earthquake was noticeably strong, even damaging, in the Glasgow area, perhaps partly due to soil amplification, and there are uncertain reports that the shock may have been felt as far north as Inverness. To the south, however, the strength of the shock died away rapidly and it was hardly felt at all south of the Lake District. The earthquake was also felt slightly in Northern Ireland.


There was a long series of aftershocks, of which the largest, on 1 January 1980, is also in the catalogue. This aftershock caused more slight damage, but chiefly to buildings already weakened by the main shock, and the maximum intensity did not exceed 5 MSK.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


25 February 1981 Constantine (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


This was similar to the 1966 Helston earthquake, but not as strong. Slight damage to plaster was caused in the epicentral area, and the earthquake was felt as far away as Plymouth. Numerous foreshocks and aftershocks were recorded.


Sources: Turbitt et al (1984), instrumental.


12 June 1981 Liskeard


A second significant earthquake in Cornwall occurred in 1981, this time in the eastern part of the county, felt mostly between Liskeard and Plymouth, but also as far away as Camborne. The felt area was surprisingly large for the magnitude of this event, and intensities were generally low.


Sources: Turbitt et al (1984), instrumental.


16 February 1984 Dumfries


The year 1984 turned out to be something of a vintage year for British earthquakes, comparable with the year 1750. The first event on note was felt in the Dumfries -Lochmaben - Lockerbie area, and is the first British earthquake for which reported effects include causing computers to crash.


Sources: Redmayne (1984), instrumental.


30 May 1984 Nottingham


This event is somewhat puzzling. The strongest felt effects, and the macroseismic epicentre, are in the Charnwood Forest area NW of Leicester, similar to events such as the 1893 Leicester earthquake. However, the instrumental epicentre is just S of Nottingham, some 20 km away. Also the instrumental magnitude is quite small compared to the extend of the felt area, which extended to Newark and Spalding. If there was any damage at all it was only slight.


Sources: Marrow (1984), instrumental.


15 April 1984 Newtown


The epicentre of this earthquake was near the village of Felindre. The shock was felt over much of Mid Wales.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


19 July 1984 Lleyn Peninsula (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


Of those British earthquakes with onshore epicentres, this event is one of, if not the largest of those for which magnitude can be determined or estimated. Fortunately it occurred in a remote rural area and the focus was relatively deep (20 km); thus there was little damage.


The felt area encompassed all of Wales, most of England, the east coast of Ireland, and extended slightly into S Scotland, the most northerly report at very low intensity being from Stirling. The epicentre was SW of Caernarvon, in the northern part of the Lleyn Peninsula. In this area damage was generally slight; some plaster was damaged, a few chimneys and field walls fell. Only in one or two isolated spots near the epicentre was damage sufficiently concentrated to suggest intensity 7 MSK. However, there was a certain amount of damage caused, mostly as isolated occurrences, at some distance from the epicentre. The greatest concentration of damage was in parts of Liverpool, where old houses in poor repair suffered damage to chimneys. (The reports of damage at Liverpool, which circulated immediately after the earthquake and before the instrumental epicentre had been determined, gave an immediate appearance that the epicentre was far east of its true location). One bungalow in Shropshire is said to have collapsed completely, and there was even a report of a single chimney damaged in London.


The earthquake was followed by a remarkably long sequence of aftershocks, the largest three of which appear in this catalogue; the largest was felt as far as Dublin. Minor earthquake activity, apparently the tail of the aftershock distribution, has continued to the time or writing (1993).


Sources: Turbitt et al (1985), instrumental.


16 September 1985 Ardentinny


Felt over the Cowal area of Argyll, and weakly as far away as Campbeltown, Falkirk and Mull. The epicentre was near Ardentinny on the shores of Loch Long. It is noticeable and noteworthy that the strength of the shock decreased rapidly once it crossed the Highland Boundary Fault from NW to SE. Weak ceilings collapsed at Ardentinny and Loch Eck.


Sources: Redmayne and Musson (1987), instrumental.


1 December 1985 Mallaig


Felt in the Morar area of the W Highlands. Information on the felt effects is almost entirely lacking in detail, but the intensity seems not to have exceeded 4 MSK anywhere.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


29 September 1986 Oban


This earthquake was similar in effect to the 1925 Oban earthquake. It was felt as far south as Islay and the Kintyre Peninsula, and as far east as Comrie; the northern limit of the felt area is less well determined. On account of the depth of focus the effects of the shock were not severe, and the intensity was rather irregularly distributed over the felt area. Plaster fell from a chimney stack at Kilmelford, a rotten tree fell at Kilninver and part of a garden wall collapsed at Lochgilphead.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


9 November 1987 Isle of Man


The instrumental epicentre of this earthquake is off the W coast of the Isle of Man, at the latitude of Peel, but the felt effects of the shock decrease across the island from S to N, rather than from W to E as one would expect. At one location a pot plant was knocked over, but generally the highest intensity was 4 MSK and the earthquake was hardly felt at all in the N part of the island.


Sources: Musson et al (1988), instrumental.


12 September 1988 Ambleside (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


This earthquake consisted of two shocks almost equal in magnitude only seconds apart, and with slightly different epicentres - very much a "twin earthquake" as hypothesised by Davison (1905). No attempt has been made to discriminate the felt effects of the two shocks. The felt area extended over the central Lake District and as far as Kirkby Lonsdale. There was slight cracking of plaster at Ambleside.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


2 April 1990 Bishop's Castle (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


The epicentre of this earthquake was in Shropshire, between the small town of Bishop's Castle and the village of Clun, nearer to the latter. The felt area was extensive, covering all of Wales and much of England. It was felt as far N as Ayrshire, as far E as Kent, as far S as Cornwall and as far W as Dublin. The distribution of damage was irregular. In Clun a few chimneys were thrown down, some plaster fell or was cracked, and trivial damage was reported to the ruins of Clun Castle. Nearby to Clun the wall of a farm building was cracked through from top to bottom and displaced by several centimetres. At Bishop's Castle, on the other hand, there was no damage at all. More distantly, there were significant concentrations of damage to older housing in localised parts of Shrewsbury and Wrexham. There were no aftershocks of any note.


If one considers the larger earthquakes of this part of England, those of 1863, 1896, 1926 and 1990, it is interesting to note that there appears to be a migration of epicentres from SW to NE in a rather arcuate path. Whether this is significant or coincidence is impossible to say.


Sources: Ritchie et al (1990), instrumental.


17 February 1992 Peterborough


The epicentre was just south of Peterborough, and has no known precedent. The area over which the shock was generally perceptible was elongated E-W between Peterborough and Leicester, although there were also reports that the earthquake was just noticeable as far away as Lincoln. There was very minor damage to plaster in Peterborough itself.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


13 April 1992 Roermond


This was the largest regional event for some years. The epicentre was in the S Netherlands, in the Rur Graben (the earthquake can be positively connected with one of the graben bounding faults), and the earthquake was felt in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, France, England, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. Piecing together an isoseismal map has thus been a major international effort - successfully accomplished, thanks to the Transfrontier Project of the European Community. In the UK it was noticed at mostly low intensity in Kent and SE Essex, and at very low intensity as far as Warrington.


Sources: Musson and Henni (1992), instrumental.


29 July 1992 Caernarvon


Felt in NW Wales and all over Anglesey. The epicentre was in Caernarvon Bay, near the SW tip of Anglesey. Slight damage to plaster at one or two locations near the epicentre only.


Sources: Walker et al (1993), instrumental.


26 June 1993 Grange-over-Sands


There have been one or two other small events on the S coast of the English Lake District in the 19th century (but less than 3 ML and not included in this catalogue). This earthquake was felt chiefly around Morecambe Bay (on both the N and S coasts) but also as far away as Sellafield and Carlisle. Some cracking of plaster occurred in the Grange-over-Sands - Arnside area.


Sources: BGS material, instrumental.


7 July 1993 Central North Sea


Felt at the Gorm hydrocarbons field. Felt reports described "a shuddering" on the Gorm complex and on a nearby standby vessel resulting in a production stoppage of 2 hours.


Sources: BGS material.


10 February 1994 Bangor (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


Felt by local residents over an area of approximately 2600 square kilometres.


Sources: BGS material.


15 February 1994 Norwich (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


Felt over an area of approximately 9500 square kilometres. An aftershock of 2.8 ML occurred an hour later.


Sources: BGS material.


28 August 1995 Aviemore (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


Felt by residents in Boat of Garten, Aviemore, Grantown-on-Spey, Carrbridge and many of the surrounding villages. Felt reports described "a bang, a rumble, the building shaking" and one person reported that "ornaments moved and glasses shook"; a few reports of minor damage were also received. The earthquake was felt over 1300 square kilometres and located in an area where no previous seismicity had been recorded.


Sources: BGS material.


7 March 1996 Shrewsbury (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


Felt throughout Shrewsbury, Telford, Oswestry and in many surrounding villages. Felt reports described "vibrations like a heavy vehicle had crashed into the house" a "a violent shuddering"; a few reports of minor damage (cracked plaster) were also received. The earthquake was felt over 3000 square kilometres.


Sources: BGS material.


10 November 1996 Penzance


The earthquake was felt over 14000 square kilometres throughout Cornwall, the Scilly Isles and in parts of Devon. Felt reports included "bottles on a shelf shook and fell off" and that people "ran outside to see if an explosion had demolished a house". Minor damage (cracked plaster) occurred close to the epicentre. Three aftershocks were detected on the same day, but none were felt.


Sources: BGS material.


3 May 1998 Jura (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


The earthquake was felt over 12000 square kilometres. Felt throughout most of Argyll and Bute, as far north as the Glencoe area, towards the Isle of Arran in the east and Southend, Kintyre, in the south. The event was felt strongest on the Islands of Colonsay and Jura. Felt reports described "the whole house shaking", "loud bangs and rumbles" and "objects rattling and falling down".


Sources: BGS material.


4 March 1999 Arran (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


This earthquake was followed by a small aftershock with a magnitude of 1.6 ML about 14 minutes later. The mainshock was felt up to 150 km away and over an area of 18500 square kilometres. This event was felt strongest at Lamlash, Arran, where in a number of cases, objects such as ornaments, pictures or toys fell or were displaced, and in a few cases heavy objects were also said to have been displaced, including two washing machines, a cooker, a microwave and a sofa. Although the area has been seismically active with small magnitude earthquakes, this magnitude 4.0 event is the largest in both the instrumental and historical catalogues.


Sources: BGS material.


1 September 1999 Caernarvon (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


Felt as far away as Barmouth, 60 km to the south and in Rhyl, 55 km to the east. Felt reports described "the whole house vibrated" and "heard loud rumblings and vibrations". This earthquake was followed by a magnitude 1.2 ML aftershock.


Sources: BGS material.


25 October 1999 Sennybridge (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


Felt reports described " everybody came running out into the street", "the whole house shook" and "felt like an explosion". Two weeks after the event, a small aftershock, with a magnitude of 1.9 ML was located in to the same area. Over the previous thirty years, the area had experienced a number of small earthquakes (up to 2.6 ML) but historically, it has been affected by large earthquakes with magnitudes over 5.0 ML. They occurred near Swansea some 40 km to the southwest in 1727, 1775 and 1906 and caused damage in the epicentral area and were felt up to 200 km away.


Sources: BGS material.


23 September 2000 Warwick (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


Felt up to 150 km away and over an area of 14900 square kilometres, this earthquake was observed with the highest intensity in the Warwick area, where, in a number of cases, object such as ornaments and pictures fell or were displaced. In a few cases, heavy objects such as household furnishings were said to have been displaced. (Full Report)


Sources: BGS material.


7 May 2001 Central North Sea


Located approximately 410 km east of Edinburgh, this earthquake was felt on three nearby oil platforms in the Ekofisk field. The Ekofisk Hotel platform control tower described "a swaying lasting 2 minutes which left us feeling dizzy". They also confirmed that the Albuskjell platform some 15 km to the north and the Eldfisk platform, some 26 km to the south reported similar felt effects.


Sources: BGS material.


13 May 2001 Dumfries (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


This earthquake was located near Dumfries. Many people reported feeling the events, with reports comning from the Police, the media, Dumfries Council and residents of the Dumfries area. Felt reports described "the entire house shook", "the neighbours felt a shaking and ran into their back gardens", "the floor moved" and "felt like an explosion". (Full Report)


Sources: BGS material.


31 May 2001 Off Hartland Point (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


Many felt reports from residents of Cornwall and Devon who described "I ran outside alarmed", " I thought a nuclear explosion had gone off" and "the whole house shook". (Full Report)


Sources: BGS material.


10 October 2001 Bargoed (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


Felt reports described "the bed was shaking", "the entire house shook" and "I was woken from sleep". This event was followed by three aftershocks with magnitudes of 1.6, 1.6 and 2.5 ML, the largest event (2.5 ML) on 18 October was felt with intensities of 4 EMS.


Sources: BGS material.


28 October 2001 Melton Mowbray (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


The earthquake was felt throughout Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Yorkshire, Shropshire and Nottinghamshire. The most distant felt reports were from near Chester in the west, King's Lynn, Norfolk in the east. In the north, the limit of observation was marked by Knaresborough. In the south, the shock was felt as far as Oxford, with also a single very distant observation from Salisbury. There were reports of damage to chimneys in the Melton Mowbray area, indicating an intensity of 6 EMS. Felt reports described "we ran into the streets", "the whole house shook", "the table moved" and "we were very frightened". (Full Report)


Sources: BGS material.


22 September 2002 Dudley (MACROSEISMIC MAP)


This earthquake occurred some 3 km northwest of Dudley, at a depth of 14 km, with a magnitude of 4.7 ML. It was felt over an area of 126,000 square kilometres (isoseismal 3). Reports were received of electric power being cut off to many homes in districts of Birmingham and multi-storey flats being evacuated in the Egbaston district of Birmingham. The earthquake was felt from the west coast to the east coast, as far north as Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Humberside and to Dorset and Kent in the South. The highest observed intensity was 5 EMS, which was observed quite widely over an area around Dudley, Birmingham, Walsall and Wolverhampton and as far south as Kidderminster and Bromwich. In a number of cases, mirrors and clocks were thrown off walls, a bookcase fell over, large items of furniture shook violently and there was a high level of alarm amongst the local population. A few reports mentioned children being thrown out of their beds. Two aftershocks were recorded, with magnitudes of 2.7 and 1.2 ML on 23 and 24 September respectively. The larger of the two aftershocks was felt with an intensity of 3 EMS. (Full Report)


Sources: BGS material.


21 October 2002 Manchester


One hundred and sixteen earthquakes were located in the Manchester area during 2002 with magnitudes ranging from 1.3 - 3.9 ML. Thirty-six of these events were reported felt to BGS with intensities ranging from 2-5 EMS. The largest earthquake of the sequence occurred in central Manchester on 21 October at 11:42 (UTC), with a magnitude of 3.9 ML. This was closely followed 22 seconds later by a magnitude 3.5 ML earthquake in the same locality. BGS received numerous felt reports about this earthquake swarm. The earthquake, together with several others in the swarm, were felt throughout Greater Manchester, up to distances of approximately 30 km. There were reports of minor damage to buildings in the central Manchester area, indicating an intensity of 5 EMS. (Full Report)


Sources: BGS material.