Residents reported feeling their homes shaking after Surrey was hit by an earthquake overnight.
The quake happened at 1.19am on Saturday, according to a seismograph from the British Geological Survey (BGS), which received dozens of reports from people disturbed by the event.
“Typical reports described ‘windows and doors shook’, ‘felt like some sort of explosion’ and ‘a loud bang woke me up’,” a spokeswoman for the BGS said.
She added: “Around 100 reports from members of the public in the epicentral area have been received so far and many others have taken to social media to report their experience.”
Preliminary information indicated a 2.5-magnitude quake, centred on Newdigate, had struck at a depth of 2.3km (1.4 miles), the BGS said.
The BGS is asking residents to fill in a questionnaire on its website to record what they experienced.
Several people reported on social media that they had felt the tremor in the Crawley area.
One Twitter user said: “Did an earthquake just happen in Crawley? My whole flat just shook underneath me!”, while another added: “Just looked at the sensors around the Gatwick area on BGS’s website and it confirms we did have an earthquake at 1:19. Lasted about a second or 2 but woke me up…”
The magnitude of the tremor is not yet clear.
Did an earthquake just happen in Crawley? My whole flat just shook underneath me!
It follows a series of earthquakes in the Surrey area in February, when four tremors were recorded in the space of a fortnight.
Concerns were raised that the quakes were the result of nearby oil and gas exploration.
Stephen Hicks, seismologist at Imperial College London, said at the time that while scientists were “keeping an open mind”, there was “still no available evidence which points towards the triggering by man-made activities”.
He said: “It is most likely that these earthquakes are natural – due to small tectonic stresses occurring on old geological faults caused by stresses from our nearest plate boundaries in the Mid-Atlantic and Mediterranean.”
It follows a 3.0-magnitude earthquake which hit Newdigate, Surrey, on February 27. That came after a 2.0-magnitude tremor on February 19 and 2.4 and 0.2 quakes on February 14.