The British Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 2.4 Earthquake at a depth of 2 km in the Highlands of Scotland, on the west bank of Loch Ness and roughly 20 km to the southwest of Inverness, slightly before 9.50 pm British Summertime (slightly before 8.50 pm GMT) on Friday 4 October 2013. This is not a large event, and is not likely to have caused any damage or injuries, but was apparently felt up to 25 km from the epicenter.
The approximate location of the 4 October 2013 Loch Ness Earthquake. Google Maps.
Earthquakes become more common as you travel north and west in Great Britain, with the west coast of Scotland being the most quake-prone part of the island and the northwest of Wales being more prone to quakes than the rest of Wales or most of England.
The precise cause of Earthquakes in the UK can be hard to determine; the country is not close to any obvious single cause of such activity such as a plate margin, but is subject to tectonic pressures from several different sources, with most quakes probably being the result of the interplay between these forces.
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. It is also affected by lesser areas of tectonic spreading beneath the North Sea, Rhine Valley and Bay of Biscay. Finally the country is subject to glacial rebound; until about 10 000 years ago much of the north of the country was covered by a thick layer of glacial ice (this is believed to have been thickest on the west coast of Scotland), pushing the rocks of the British lithosphere down into the underlying mantle. This ice is now gone, and the rocks are springing (slowly) back into their original position, causing the occasional Earthquake in the process.
Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these 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 Magnitude 1.6 Earthquake in northwest Argyll and Bute, Magnitude 1.7 Earthquake in Argyll & Bute, Scotland, Earthquake on the Isle of Skye, Earthquake near Peebles in the Scottish Borders and Magnitude 2.7 Earthquake under Glen Lyon, Perth & Kinross.
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