Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Magnitude 2.4 Earthquake off the west coast of Scotland.

The British Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 2.4 Earthquake at a depth of 4 km northwest if the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland, slightly before 8.15 am British Summertime (slightly before 7.15 am GMT) on Sunday 31 August 2014. There is no danger of any damage or injuries from an Earthquake of this magnitude, though on this occasion people recorded feeling it in Acharacle and Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula.

The approximate location of the 31 August 2014 Scottish West Coast 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. 

(Top) Simplified diagram showing principle of glacial rebound. Wikipedia. (Bottom) Map showing the rate of glacial rebound in various parts of the UK. Note that some parts of England and Wales show negative values, these areas are being pushed down slightly by uplift in Scotland, as the entire landmass is quite rigid and acts a bit like a see-saw. Climate North East.

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...

The British Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 1.0 Earthquake at a depth of 7 km on the southeastern Isle of Skye slightly after...

The British Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 1.4 Earthquake at a depth of 7 km beneath the northwest Isle of Mull, off the west...

The British Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 2.9 Earthquake at a depth of 5 km roughly 10 km to the west of Fort William in Highland County, Scotland, slightly after 7.35 pm British Summertime (slightly after 6.35 pm GMT) on Thursday 3 July 2014. This is a large quake for Scotland, but not dangerous and there are...

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1 comment:

  1. Your blog is very informative and useful.You are right that the Earthquakes become more common as you travel north and west in Great Britain. My friend was there 31 August 2014 and feel is himself. He also told me about that Earthquake. Although it is miner earthquake but we should be ready every time for any mishap. These days I am on vacations and enjoying the tour west coast tour with precautions.