UK

Earthquake In Kent Measuring 4.2 Magnitude Shakes Houses Across County

22/05/2015 08:41 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 11:59 BST

An earthquake measuring 4.2 in magnitude has hit Kent, shaking houses and waking residents.

Police say there have been no injuries or damage to buildings after a magnitude earthquake was felt in parts of the county in the early hours of Friday morning.

Seismologists at the British Geological Survey (BGS) confirmed the tremor, which was felt in areas including Ramsgate.

kent earthquake

The earthquake hit Kent in the early hours of Friday morning, measuring 4.2 magnitude

The organisation tweeted: "Prelim data now online ... 4.2 magnitude earthquake nr Sandwich, Kent."

Kent Police was inundated with calls about the incident and confirmed that parts of East Kent were affected by the earthquake, which hit the county at about 2.57am.

Locals reported books being shaken from shelves and described the earthquake as feeling like a vehicle had been driven into their property.

One thought their hotel door was being kicked in, another described their house creaking, while a third said the tremor sounded like a "heavy object rolling over the roof of the house".

kent earthquake

The earthquake hit Kent in the at 2.57.am on Friday

Earlier this month, Nepal was devastated by an earthquake measuring a huge 7.3 magnitude.

This was the second earthquake to hit the country in as many weeks, leaving thousands dead and even more struggling to cope with the horrific aftermath of the two quakes.

The BGS said earthquakes similar in size to the one that struck Kent happen around every two years in the UK and about 4,500 times a year across the world.

It tweeted: "Today's 4.2 magnitude Ramsgate earthquake is approx 260,000 times smaller than the 7.8 NepalQuake event.

"This morning's earthquake is approx 25km north-east of the 28 April 2007 Folkestone earthquake which had a magnitude of 4.3 ML."

Residents in Kent took to Twitter to express their shock at being awoken by the tremors on Friday morning, with one user describing the tremors feeling like the aftermath of an "explosion".

Iain Buchanan, of Ramsgate, said: "So I'm not going mental, my house shook due to an earthquake in Kent of all places. Thank god for 24 hrs news & social media to find out."

He added: "Lying in bed when the house suddenly shook. Thought something had collapsed outside, so got up to check.

"I've looked outside and all appears to be fine in the street. No damage that I can see. Will obviously see more later when it's lighter. Weird experience anyway.

"I actually thought it was an explosion of some sort and not an earthquake."

kent earthquakeThe magnitude 4.2 earthquake woke residents

Other agencies initially recorded varying measurements, including the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, based in Paris, said the earthquake measured 4.3 on the Richter scale.

It tweeted: "M4.3 earthquake strikes 46km SE of Southend-on-Sea (United Kingdom)."

The US Geological Survey measured the quake as magnitude 4.0.

The BGS said that this morning's earthquake's epicentre was approximately 7km south of Ramsgate.

More than 800 "felt reports" were received by the British Geological Survey (BGS), mainly from residents in Ramsgate, Margate and surrounding areas.

But the BGS said reports of the earthquake were also received from as far afield as Norwich, North Walsham and Cromer in East Anglia.

Yet for many residents, Friday morning's earthquake made a fleeting impression and Twitter users took to the social network to share images of "destruction" that Kent is now facing.

Such shocking scenes include old turbulent British weather favourites, the overturned wheelie bin and uprooted patio furniture, with many captioning their tweets "we will rebuild".

Experts said it was difficult to link the earthquake to a specific fault line.

David Galloway, a seismologist with the BGS, said: "The whole of the UK is criss-crossed by thousands of fault lines but most of them are at depth.

"This means we do not pinpoint a specific earthquake to a specific fault because even if a location is a few hundred metres off it could have been a completely different fault.

"Fortunately we do not live on the plate edges - for example the San Andreas fault in California can actually be seen at the surface, but the faults in the UK are blind and most earthquakes happen at a depth of between 5km and 25km.

"Earthquakes happen all over the UK - we get some 200 a year on average. One of the scale of this morning's only happen every two or three years."

In the centre of Ramsgate there was no significant sign of damage caused by the earthquake.

In the resort, locals reported being jolted from their beds in the middle of the night, including 42-year-old Muni Prasad.

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He said: "We were woken up suddenly. For a few seconds the property was moving. In my daughter's room, books had fallen down.

"She came to our room and said, 'Did you feel it?' And we said we had. We are on the second floor so when a big vehicle goes by we sometimes feel it.

"But with this my wife said it felt like something different."

A spokesman for the BGS said earthquakes of this magnitude are felt in the UK every three or four years, describing it as "quite significant".

He told BBC Radio Kent: "There could be (more tremors). Not all earthquakes have aftershocks. Most of the energy could have been released in this one earthquake and the next one might not be for another three, four, five or 10 years. We can't predict."