20-second tremor 'million times weaker than Japan earthquake'
AN earthquake shook buildings across southern Derbyshire – and was even felt as far north as Matlock.
The 20-second quake, registering 2.9 on the Richter scale, struck just after 5am yesterday about two miles north west of Loughborough.
The British Geological Survey (BGS), which measures seismic activity in the UK, received more than 150 calls about the tremor.
Julian Bukits, of the BGS, said: "People will have felt this up to 24 miles away.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
"But, to put it in perspective this was a million times less powerful, than the Japanese earthquake, which was an 8.9.
"And it was far less powerful than the Melton Mowbray quake which was a 4.1 on the scale in 2001."
Lee Mallon, 30, and his wife, Sally O'Neill, felt the tremors at their home in Hands Road, Heanor.
He said: "We woke up because our budgies went mad. They were screaming in their cage and it was rattling the desk and the bed.
"It wasn't as bad as the previous one but it was a bit of a shock."
Derbyshire was last hit by a major quake on February 27, 2008.
That quake struck much further away, near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire, but was far more powerful and was felt all over the UK.
Then, the 5.2 magnitude tremors caused chimneys to fall from roofs as it rumbled through Derby.
This time, however, people only felt the shaking of beds and ratting of windows, according to David Galloway, a senior seismologist at the BGS.
He said: "We experience around 10 of these type of quakes a year.
"Many people report that it is like having a lorry drive past but there should be no structural damage."
The British Geological Survey, which is based in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, has a hundred sensors placed around the country that measure activity. The closest to the quake site is in Charnwood Forest, just four miles away.
While not on a fault line, like San Francisco or Iceland, Britain experiences 200 earthquakes each year.
Mr Galloway, explaining why they occurred, said: "There is a squeezing effect on the British Isles.
"The Atlantic plate is opening up so we are getting further away from America.
"This movement leads to pressures on the earth and sometimes these faults give-way causing an earthquake.
"It is nothing to worry about but it can be alarming."
When the 2008 quake happened, Derbyshire police were inundated with calls, receiving 370 in just one hour. Yesterday, however, they received none.