Earthquake shakes Norfolk

Mark Nicholls Hundreds of people across Norfolk were awoken by an earth tremor that rocked parts of central Britain at just before 1am today.

Mark Nicholls

No serious damage was caused in Norfolk by this morning's earth quake, police have reported.

The quake, the strongest in about 25 years, shook hundreds of homes across the country and has become the talk of the office water cooler today as people ask 'did the earth move for you last night'.

Many have said they thought they were dreaming, but whilst there has been little damage reported in Norfolk, homes in other parts of the country have seen their chimney stacks fall in.

A 19 year old man from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was taken to hospital with a suspected broken pelvis after a chimney collapsed and fell into his bedroom.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) said it recorded an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.2 on the Richter scale with an epicentre near Market Rasen, in Lincolnshire, at 0057am this morning.

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The tremors were felt from Dumfries in Scotland to Swansea in Wales.

Norfolk Police this morning said they had received no reports of any injuries or serious structural damage.

Their control room received a sudden increase in calls from the public across the county shortly after the tremor - about 150 calls were taken, including 30 emergency 999 calls, in a short period after the tremor.

Norfolk Fire Service also reported an increase in calls but said there had been no reports of damage or injuries.

There were concerns along the coast about possible coastal erosion from the tremor and some woke worrying it could have been an explosion at Bacton gas terminal.

One woman, who lives alone in Oulton Broad, said not knowing what it was, she left her home to stay at her parent's house.

For many, it was a case of whether people slept through the tremors or not.

A spokesman for the BGS said: “Earthquakes of this size occur in the mainland UK roughly every 30 years, although are more common in offshore areas.

“This is the largest earthquake in the UK since the magnitude 5.4 Lleyn Peninsula earthquake in 1984, which was widely felt across England and Wales.”

The largest earthquake recorded in the UK happened about 75 miles north-east of Great Yarmouth in the North Sea on 7 June, 1931. It measured 6.1 and was felt across Britain, in eastern Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and parts of Germany, France, Norway and Denmark.

Seismologist Dr Brian Baptie of the BGS said: “This a significant earthquake for the UK and will have been widely felt across England and Wales”.

The BGS records approximately 200 earthquakes in the UK each year on its monitoring stations.

Approximately 25 earthquakes in the UK are felt by people each year.

t Earth Quakes in Norfolk

1480 - An earthquake just after Christmas was reported to have damaged Norwich's city walls and other buildings.

1580 - Official civic records in Norwich recorded this eye-witness account: “Sometime before VI of the night there was an earthquake which did so shake the Guildhall that Mr Mayor, The Sword-bearer and Town Clerk were afraid to tarry there because the roof of the chamber, being very strong built with timber, trembled and cracked so sore that they feared the fall of it.”

1750 - Three extensive earthquakes in this year, the last one affecting counties including Suffolk.

1757 - Report of one in early January: “On Monday last, between 2am and 3am, we had a slight shock of an earthquake, preceded by a rumbling noise in the air. As it happened at a time, when the generality of people are found asleep, it was not perceived by many but those who were awake, and the few persons that were up, were very sensible of it. It was likewise felt at Yarmouth, Diss, South Walsham, Loddon, Bungay, Easton, Sprowston, at the same moment of time.” - J Crafer.

1865 - One in spring been felt along the line of coast extending from Caister on the north to Lowestoft on the south, making the bells ring and crockery rattle in Yarmouth.

1884 - Britain's most famous earthquake, on April 22, epicentre near Colchester, caused damage and widespread panic at Harleston, King's Lynn, Thetford, Great Yarmouth, Diss and Norwich among many other towns and villages