0:57am Tremor in the Midlands. Definite rat­tling and shak­ing. Fortunately my shelves are still intact else I’d have had repeated head­aches as they fell. Estimate between 4 and 5 on the Richter scale, prob­ably closer to 4. I’ll have to remem­ber to check the news tomorrow.

Update: It’s the lead story on the BBC which sur­prised me. They have the time as 0:56 GMT and the mag­nitude as 5.3 centred on Market Rasen based on a BGS report [PDF]. Those seis­mo­grams seem to run on to 0:57 so I’m quite pleased with my estimates.

The tremor seemed to come in two parts. I was lying in bed and hadn’t fallen asleep yet but was well on the way. At first I thought I had mice in the walls again. Rather than feel­ing it I could hear it. Then I felt my quilt mov­ing and because I’m slow to give up an idea I thought that the mice had cajoled a couple of help­ful rats into pulling some new bed­ding to their hole. Waking up a bit more I could hear the books shuff­ling on my shelves. It went on quite a while and see­ing as I was half awake to begin with I wouldn’t want to give a cer­tain fig­ure, but I’d guess at least ten seconds with the force of a three-year old want­ing to wake someone up so she could have the remote con­trol to watch car­toons on TV.

Then it felt like things shif­ted gear. Suddenly it was like a three-and-a-half year old who’s been told she can’t open her Christmas presents until every­one is up. I’d say this went on for around eight to ten seconds (the BGS says ten) which made it the longest mod­er­ate tremor I’d felt. I wasn’t too sure of my estim­ate because when this kind of thing is going on accur­ate count­ing isn’t the first thing you think of. I was more wor­ried about the books on my shelves which were edging their way for­ward like tent­at­ive lemmings.

I thought it was more insist­ent than ter­ri­fy­ing. It’s annoy­ing that there’s really noth­ing you can do about it while it’s hap­pen­ing. I can see how it would be a worry for people liv­ing closer to the epi­centre. It’s noth­ing too big if you live in California, but it could be the biggest tremor to hit the UK in the past thirty years.

Apparently there was also an after­shock, so per­haps I should use the term earth­quake. That was 1.8, but I wouldn’t have known about that because I slept through it.


When he's not tired, fixing his car or caught in train delays, Alun Salt works part-time for the Annals of Botany weblog. His PhD was in ancient science at the University of Leicester, but he doesn't know Richard III.

3 Responses

  1. tubagus says:

    I’m in swin­don, Wiltshire. Can feel the tremor, was like rock­ing my chair. Watching SKY news (01.30am) now and the tremor is a break­ing news.… the epi­centre still unknown at the time I write this. cheers.

  2. AJ Cann says:

    Hmm, 00:57 eh? That’s what my digital radio said too when I opened my eyes, but accord­ing to the pips at 8 am, it’s 2 minutes slow. Back to analoge?

  3. cardinalwolsey says:

    Didn’t feel it in West London, but next day the house was mak­ing strange noises, as if re-adjusting.