On Wednesday 23 May at about 10.45 pm British Summertime (11.45 GMT), the British Geological Survey recorded an Earthquake in South Yourkshire, roughly 3 km west of the Village of Thorne, or 10 northeast of Doncaster, measuring 1.4 on the Richter Scale and at a depth of 1 km. This is a very small quake and is highly unlikely to have caused any damage or injuries, but may have been felt as it was close to the surface.
Map showing the rough location of the quake. BGS.
As a rough rule of thumb, the UK becomes more Earthquake prone the further north and west you travel, making Yorkshire one of England's more Earthquake prone counties.
The precise causes of Earthquakes in the UK are often hard to determine, as the country is not close to any active tectonic margins, or other obvious sources of quakes. The country is on the eastern margin of the Eurasian Plate, and therefore is being pushed to the east by the expansion of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as to the north by the impact of Africa into Europe from the south. There are also smaller expansion centers beneath the North Sea, the Rhine Valley and the Bay of Biscay, all of which excerpt pressure upon UK rocks. The country is also still undergoing glacial rebound. Until about 10 000 years ago the north of the country was still covered by hundreds of meters of ice, which pushed the rocks of the crust down into the underlying mantle. Now that this ice is gone the rocks are slowly rebounding, providing a source of Earthquakes.
Scientists can learn more about the structure and movement of the rocks beneath the UK by gathering information from people who have felt Earthquakes. If you felt the 23 May Yorkshire quake, or were in the area but did not feel anything (which is also data), then you can report it to the BGS here.
See also Earthquake near Rochdale, Lancashire, Earthquake in Burnley, Lancashire, Earthquake in Cumbria, Earthquake in Yorkshire and Earthquakes on Sciency Thoughts YouTube.
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