Thursday 24 May 2012

Earthquake beneath the English Channel.

On Wednesday 23 May 2012, at slightly after 2.35 pm British Summertime (slightly after 1.35 pm GMT), an Earthquake was recorded by the British Geological Survey beneath the English Channel, roughly 70 km south of Eastbourne or 50 km west of Dieppe. The depth of the quake was unclear, but it was recorded as measuring 2.2 on the Richter Scale. The quake is unlikely to have been felt by anyone, much less to have caused any damage or casualties. Potentially a quake this size underwater could create a small tsunami, but nothing seems to have been observed in this instance.

The causes of Earthquakes in the English Channel are complex, being influenced by tectonic pressures from a number of sources. Europe is being pushed from the West by the expansion of the Atlantic and from the south by the northward movement of the African Plate. More locally there are lesser centers of expansion beneath the North Sea, the Rhine Valley and the Bay of Biscay, which excerpt pressure in the Channel Region. Finally there is glacial rebound; much of northern Europe was buried beneath hundreds of meters of ice till about 10 000 years ago. This pushed the rocks of the crust down into the lithosphere, and now the ice is gone the rocks are slowly rebounding.

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