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Earthquake in England


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Earthquake shakes parts of Kent n

Police officers had to help one resident from her home

An earthquake with a magnitude of at least 4.3 has shaken parts of Kent, damaging buildings and disrupting electricity supplies.

Emergency services have received reports of structural damage including cracked walls and fallen chimneys in Folkestone and nearby areas.

The British Geological Survey said the tremor, which occurred at 0819 BST, had its epicentre out in the Dover Straits.

It said it was the largest quake in the UK since the one in Dudley in 2002.

All our street shook...the seagulls went crazy

Karol Steele

Witnesses' accounts

Q&A: the Kent quake

EDF Energy said it had managed to restore electricity to most of the several thousand homes left without power in the Folkestone and Dover area.

Scottish and Southern Energy, which supplies gas to the area, said it was investigating 300 "possible gas escapes".

"Obviously there is a smell about and people have been reporting it and we have to attend every single report," a spokesman said.

"But at the moment we are not sure if it is natural gas brought up by the earthquake, which can happen, or leaks from pipes."

The earthquake damaged several homes in Folkestone

South East Coast Ambulance Service said one woman in her thirties was taken to hospital in Ashford, suffering from minor head injury and neck pain.

Significant tremor

David Booth of the British Geological Survey said the tremor, which lasted a few seconds, was of a sizeable magnitude.

"It's certainly the largest in the UK since an earthquake in Dudley in the West Midlands in 2002 and that also caused damage. So this is a very significant tremor."

The British Geological Survey has measured the epicentre as being approximately 8.6 miles (14km) south of Dover, out in the English Channel.

Dr Roger Musson, of the British Geological Survey, said the earthquake was "not exceptionally large" for Britain.

"It's the sort of thing we might have every five years or so. In a way it's unusual that it happened in the south east of England, which is a part of Britain that's normally not affected by earthquakes."

Dr Musson added that he did not think there would be any further earthquakes following the tremor.

"Going on past experience the last two significant earthquakes that we had in this area were in 1776 and 1950.

"My best guess is that any aftershocks from this earthquake will be only recorded by our instruments and won't be felt by people."

Professor Bill McGuire, director of the Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre said damaging earthquakes were "rare" but not unknown in the UK, with the Kent region being an area that had experienced them before.

A Eurostar spokesman said everything was running normally in the Channel Tunnel.

Eyewitness Lorraine Muir said: "We've been evacuated by the Sally Army; we've got no gas or electricity."

Paul Smye-Rumsby, who lives in Dover, said: "It was about 08.15 when suddenly the bed shook violently.

"I thought my wife had got cramp or something but then I saw the curtains were moving and the whole house was shaking. It lasted about 1.5 seconds.


December 2006 - Dumfries and Galloway (Magntiude 3.5)

September 2002 - Dudley, West Midlands (5.0)

October 2001 - Melton Mowbray (4.1)

September 2000 - Warwick (4.2)

April 1990 - Bishop's Castle, Shropshire (5.1)

July 1984 - Nefyn, north Wales (5.4)

June 1931 - in North Sea near Great Yarmouth (6.1)

"All the power is off and we have got the portable radio on. People are standing outside talking to each other about it."

Paul Hatton, 38, of Folkestone, said he and his brother Neil initially thought the tremor was caused by an explosion.

He said: "I was upstairs and my brother was downstairs and I heard a bang and thought that a lorry had crashed into something or that there had been a gas explosion.

"I went outside and could smell a bit of gas and there were lots of people outside.

"It was quite unusual seeing people coming out of their homes all at the same time. Nobody quite knew what was going on."

Sam Millen, of Folkestone, was at home when the earthquake struck.

She said: "The whole place was shaking just after 8am, the TV was rocking backwards and forwards, alarms going off, lamps smashed onto the floor, and now the small cracks in the house have got a lot bigger."

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