On Thursday 28 March 2013, at 8.25 pm GMT, the British Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 1.6 Earthquake at a depth of 7 km, roughly 5 km south of Stafford. This is to small to have caused any serious damage or casualties, but is large enough that it may have been felt locally.
The location of the 28 March Earthquake. Google Maps.
The precise cause of Earthquakes in the UK can be hard to determine, and most are probably the result of more than one source of tectonic stress. The country is being pushed to the east by the expansion of the Atlantic Ocean and to the north by the impact of Africa into Europe from the south. It is also affected by lesser spreading centers beneath the North Sea, Rhine Valley and Bay of Biscay. Finally there is glacial rebound; much of the north of the UK was covered by a thick layer of glacial ice until about 10 000 years ago, pushing the rocks of the British lithosphere down into the underlying mantle. This ice is now gone and the rocks of the lithosphere are still rebounding (slowly) into there original position, causing the occasional Earthquake in the process.
Witness reports can help geologists to understand Earthquake events, and the structures that cause them. If you felt this quake, or were in the area but did not (which is also useful information) then you can report it to the British Geological Survey here.
See also Earthquake near Nottingham, Earthquake in northern Leicestershire, Earthquake in northern Nottinghamshire, Earthquake in Leicestershire and Earthquakes on Sciency Thoughts YouTube.
Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.