Earthquake hits UK as 5.1 magnitude tremor rocks parts of Britain

The UK was hit by an earthquake this morning as homes were left ‘rattling’ for minutes. The tremor was felt in parts of northern Scotland.

The magnitude 5.1 earthquake was felt early this morning and is believed to have taken place around 5.23am off the coast of north east Shetland. The British Geological Survey reported that residents of Aberdeen, Shetland, Elon, Helmsdale, Stonehaven, Inverurie, Lairg, Huntly, Banff and Fraserburgh felt the impact.

The mirror reported how residents were awakened by what sounded like a “low-flying aircraft”. Others said the tremor rattled their windows.

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The British Geological Survey has received numerous reports from private individuals. Some have described: “laying in bed and heard a low rumble”, “three waves of vibrations in about three seconds”, “it woke me up as the windows were shaking”, “the bed was shaking and the windows cracked”, “the mirror was shaking” and “smelt it as well as heard it, enough to wake me up”.

Ryan Thomson, who lives in Shetland, said he woke up to something that looked like a “low-flying aircraft”.

He said: “I first woke up to the sound which was very much like a very low flying jet or extremely loud thunder, it wasn’t until I saw the light shadow moving that I clicked that it might be a small earthquake.There wasn’t much movement here, I believe other parts of Shetland felt it more, but the noise was extremely loud and quite alarming.

“Earthquakes are of course very rare but not unheard of here in Shetland. There was one about five years ago in a similar location but it was certainly the strongest and most visible I have never known in Shetland.”

What is an earthquake? The following information is taken from Nasa.

A earthquake is an intense shaking of the Earth’s surface. The tremor is caused by movements in the Earth’s outermost layer.

Why do earthquakes happen?

Although Earth looks like a pretty solid place on the surface, it’s actually extremely active just below the surface. The earth is made of four base layers: a solid crust, an almost solid hot mantle, a liquid outer core and a solid inner core.

The solid crust and the rigid upper layer of the mantle constitute a region called the lithosphere. The lithosphere is not a continuous lump that wraps around the entire Earth like an eggshell. It is actually made up of giant puzzle pieces called tectonic plates. Tectonic plates are constantly moving as they drift over the slimy or slow-flowing mantle layer below.

This incessant movement causes stresses on the earth’s crust. When the stresses become too great, it leads to cracks called faults. When tectonic plates move, it also causes fault movements. An earthquake is the sudden movement of the earth’s crust across a fault line.

Learn more here.

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