Thursday, 28 February 2008

"A Significant Event" - February 27, 2008


The largest earthquake to have struck England and Wales in 25 years has caused millions of pounds of damage. The British Geological Survey said the quake was the largest since 1984 when a tremor measuring 5.4 hit north Wales. I felt the 1984 one - I was in the office of the Knowsley Housing Department on the fourth floor of the Municipal Buildings at the time and the waste paper basket moved across the floor. Strangely, someone at the other end of the office felt it but no one in between.

Checking damage in Grantham
The Association of British Insurers said the cost to businesses and householders is "likely to run into the low tens of millions of pounds". The clear-up is continuing as buildings are checked for structural damage. The quake struck at 12.56am, on Wednesday February 27, 2008 triggering hundreds of calls to emergency services across the country.

A United States Geological Survey map shows where the earthquake was felt. Measuring 5.2 on the Richter Scale (5.1 according to the BBC!), its epicentre was recorded five miles east of Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, and 14 miles south-west of Grimsby.

Damage in Barnsley
Buildings were damaged and a man from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was taken to hospital after a chimney collapsed and fell through his bedroom roof. It was described as a "Significant event" in British terms though not, of course, in world-wide terms.

A road in Bootle

The crack on the left is new, Lincolnshire

The quake lasted for around seven seconds and was felt in places as far away as the coast of southern England, Scotland and Wales. A number of roads and driveways were cracked by the quake.

Damage in Grimsby

A roof in Wombwell

A wall in Leeds

A car in Worksop

The main external damage to buildings was to chimneys. Outside walls were also affected in some places. A few cars were unfortunate enough to be beneath falling masonry.

A lot of damage in a Manchester house

Cracks in a house in Norwich

A lot of Sky News readers also sent in photos of cracks which allegedly appeared in their houses as a result of the quake. I must check our chimneys though judging by the noise when the wind damaged one I would have heard if anything had come down.

A shop in Lincoln
In shops and offices there were minor, inconsequential, but in some places quite obvious signs of the earthquake.

The British Geological Survey said a second smaller earthquake was recorded at 2.46am. The nearby aftershock measured 1.8 on the Richter Scale. Dr Roger Musson, of the BGS, said the epicentre was situated 15km below the Earth's surface. "The full force of the tremor was not felt - there was 15km of rock between you and the epicentre," he said.

Fortunately the British retain their sense of humour throughout any crisis. This being little more than a fun event for most people resulted in two photos to the Sky News website -

Tracy Morter, Essex, 27/02/2008 14:16:00 As you can see we lost some roof and a few bricks from our house.

Clive Garrett, Leeds, 27/02/2008 14:23:00 A rubber duck at a full 90 degree tilt in my house. And I don't even own a rubber duck! May God (or other) have mercy on our humble planet (Amen).

I have yet to work out whether this picture of the McDonalds in Grimsby is a spoof or not. Are neon-type signs really filled with a liquid. I thought it was a gas. Or does it liquefy in contact with the air?

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