Friday 25 May 2012

Earthquake near Rochdale, Lancashire.

On Friday 25 May 2012, slightly before 4.25 British Summertime (slightly before 3.25 GMT) the British Geological Survey recorded an Earthquake roughly 1 km south of the Lancashire village of Bacup, or 10 km north of Rochdale, at a depth of 7 km, measuring 1.2 on the Richter Scale. An Earthquake this deep and this small is highly unlikely to have caused any damage or injuries, and may not have been felt by anyone.

Map showing the approximate location of the quake. BGS.

As a rough rule of thumb, the further north and west you go in Great Britain the more Earthquakes there are; thus Lancashire is one of the most quake-prone counties in England.

The causes of Earthquakes in the UK are complex, as the country is not near any active tectonic margins. Europe is being pushed to the East buy the expansion of the Atlantic Ocean and the North by the impact of Africa from the south. There are also lesser expansion centers beneath the North Sea, the Bay of Biscay and the Rhine Valley, which all excerpt stresses on UK rocks. Finally there is glacial rebound; the northernmost parts of Britain were covered by hundreds of meters of ice until about 10 000 years ago. This pushed the rocks of the crust down into the underlying mantle, and now that the ice is gone these rocks are slowly rebounding.

If you did feel the quake, or were in the area at the time but did not feel it, then you can inform the British Geological Survey here. Statements from people who have felt shaking help geologists to build up a better understanding of the movement of the rocks under the UK.

See also Earthquake in Burnley, LancashireEarthquake in CumbriaEarthquake in Yorkshire and Earthquakes on Sciency Thoughts YouTube.

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