You would imagine that living in the English midlands would pretty much insulate me from earthquakes, and that surviving Earthquakes in the East Midlands is not much of a challenge. It is not an area famous for its seismic activity, or for its moving of tectonic plates. However, there have been two earthquakes in the area in the six years that I have lived here. It is fair to say, however, that the magnitude of these earthquakes may be somewhat more limited than what some parts of the world experience.
The first was in February 2008. It actually struck Lincolnshire, but that’s not too far away. It was relatively large by local standards, as a magnitude 5.2 event. Many of my colleagues were woken by the shaking, and it did actually cause some damage, with a student accommodation building in Stoke on Trent being evacuated because of a fallen chimney. It had been the largest in the UK since 1984. I actually managed to avoid the earthquake by being in Los Angeles at the time. The irony was not lost on me that I was possibly the only person to have escaped an earthquake in the East Midlands by going to a city synonymous with the San Andreas fault line. When I told the locals that there had been an earthquake at home, they were very concerned and asked if everyone was ok. I rather sheepishly explained that there was some difference between the magnitude of such events between California and Leicestershire. Still, we were all relieved that no one was badly hurt. The BBC news report on the incident is here.
The second earthquake was nearer home, and more recent. In January 2013, I was woken early in the morning, but was not quite sure why I was awake. Something had happened, but I had no idea what. My dog Berta was equally confused. She got up, had a stretch, turned around three times, and, having judged that all was still safe, went back to bed. Her snoring was almost of as seismic as the stirrings in the ground a few minutes before. I checked the BBC news site – that provider of trusty information – which covered the breaking news that there had been an earthquake, which transpired to be a magnitude 2.9 event.
When we got up a little later, I asked my wife what she thought of the earthquake. “The what?” she said, looking at me in a somewhat confused fashion. Both she and Xander had slept through it. Xander had experienced his first earthquake at less than two months old, and it had not even registered. I took this as a good sign that he may continue to be a rather chilled out chap.
However the earthquake may have shaken my head about a bit. Later that day, I took up blogging….