On Monday 29 April 2013, slightly after 6.30 pm British Summertime (slightly after 5.30 pm GMT), the British Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 1.0 Earthquake at a depth of 3 km in northern Shropshire, roughly 10 km northwest of Telford or 15 km northeast of Shrewsbury. This is a fairly small quake, and is highly unlikely to have caused any damage or injuries; given its fairly rural location it is quite likely that nobody felt it at all.
The location of the 29 April 2013 Earthquake. Google Maps.
The precise cause of Earthquakes in the UK can be hard to determine; most are probably the result of a combination of more than one source of tectonic stress. Britain 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. If is also affected by lesser areas of tectonic expansion beneath the North Sea, Rhine Valley and Bay of Biscay. Finally their is post-glacial uplift; much of the north of the UK was covered by a thick layer of snow and 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 are slowly springing back into position, causing the occasional Earthquake in the process. This is particularly true in the north and west of the country, with the west coast of Scotland being the most Earthquake-prone part of Britain.
Witness reports can be useful to geologists trying to understand Earthquakes and the structures that cause them. If you felt this quake (or if you 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 in Herefordshire, Earthquake in Staffordshire, Second Earthquake beneath Cheshire, Earthquake in Cheshire and Earthquakes on Sciency Thoughts YouTube.
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