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Earthquake shakes Britain

February 27, 2008

Really, i didn’t feel a thing 😦 ….

This article was first published on guardian.co.uk on Wednesday February 27 2008. It was last updated at 08:36 on February 27 2008.

Britain’s largest earthquake in nearly a quarter of a century has left one person injured and a trail of damage.

The magnitude 5.2 quake hit just before 1am today and was centred near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire. Its effects were felt as far away as Wales, Scotland and London.

A man from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was taken to hospital with a broken pelvis after a chimney collapsed and fell into his bedroom, Sky News reported. Emergency services across England received many calls from people who had woken up to find their homes shaking.

“We had an emergency call to Wombwell, Barnsley. A chimney had come through the bedroom roof,” said a spokeswoman for South Yorkshire ambulance service said.

Lincolnshire police said the force took dozens of calls but there were no reports of injury. “It made us very, very busy for about an hour,” said a spokeswoman.

The Guardian received calls from startled readers in London, Bedfordshire, Yorkshire, Manchester, Blackpool and Leicester.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) said the centre was five miles east of Market Rasen and 15 miles south-west of Grimsby. “This is a significant earthquake for the UK and will have been widely felt across England and Wales,” said Brian Baptie, a BGS seismologist.

The BGS records around 200 quakes in Britain each year – an eighth of them are large enough to feel. It said there were earthquakes of this size in mainland Britain around every 30 years but they were more common offshore.

Today’s quake is the largest since 1984 when an earthquake of magnitude 5.4 shook the Lleyn Peninsula of north Wales and was widely felt across England and Wales.

Alex Ferrier, 22, a marine biology student from Hull, said: “It was quite scary… we live in a road of large terraced houses and I was woken up and looked out of the window and there were loads of people on the streets.”

Ferrier’s mother, Val, who lives in Manchester, said she was woken when the mirrors on her wardrobe shook violently. “The whole room was shaking for about 20 seconds, it was quite violent. I ran downstairs,” she said.

Geoff Halsey, 62, a salesman from Tingrith in Bedfordshire, said he knew immediately on waking up that it was an earthquake. “I was fast asleep when I felt a whiplash, it was quite violent … lasting a few seconds. The whole house shivered, me and the wife both jumped up. The pheasants started singing and other birds began to sing as well.”

John Jenkin, from Bourne in Lincolnshire, said things fell from his shelves. “I was woken up. It was hell. The police around here suddenly became very busy.”

In London, the quake was felt by reporters in parliament.

The Dudley area of the West Midlands had an earthquake in 2002 that reached magnitude 5.0 and damaged homes.

The last one in the UK was a 2.9 tremor in Wales in November. In April 2007, Kent had a similar event, and people in five streets of Folkestone had to be evacuated because of damage to buildings.

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