THE UK has been hit by a 3.9 magnitude earthquake with residents in the south-east of England reporting tremors.
Residents in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire and Slough in Berkshire reported feeling the quake and their “whole house shaking”. While others reported feeling “scared”.
The British Geological Survey (BGS) said it was investigating reports of an earthquake in Bedfordshire, southern England.
Initial data on the BGS site suggested the earthquake was felt in the region of Leighton Buzzard, in Bedfordshire, at around 8.45am and was magnitude 3.3 at a depth of 10km.
While the LastQuake app, run by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC), said the earthquake was a magnitude of 3.9 on the Richter scale.
The BGS said one report suggested the earthquake was like a “large explosion”.
A tweet said: “BGS is receiving many notifications from press & public in this heavily populated area. Reports include ‘like a convey of HGVs driving past my front door at great speed’, ‘the house had one dramatic shake’, ‘felt like whole house was shaking’ & ‘it was like a large explosion’.
“We are getting reports of an earthquake in the Bedfordshire area. We are currently investigating this event and will post again shortly with an update.”
ITV News producer Marcus Chippindale tweeted from Leighton Buzzard: “Pretty sure we just had an earthquake at home. 2020 is not done with us yet.”
Witnesses said they felt “strong” shaking during the tremor.
Usha Chapman, from Luton, said: “I was on a video call with my mum when I felt a sideways push. The door rattled and the TV fixed to the wall also rattled.
“It lasted for five seconds.”
Head of seismology at BGS Dr Brian Baptie told the BBC that the UK only gets around one earthquake each year of such a size, but rarely in the Bedfordshire area.
He said: “Leighton Buzzard is not an area that has been known for earthquakes in the past.
“There have been a few historically nearby. There was a magnitude 3 near Oxford in 1986 and then you have to go back to the 18th century to look at Oxford in 1764 for another event of that size.
“Most of the earthquake areas in the UK are a little bit further north, or west, or down in the Dover Strait area.”
One Twitter user said: “As if there was just some sort of mini earthquake in Hertfordshire. My bed shook, my windows rattled I was scared for a second.”
Another said: “What the hell was that?! Felt like an earthquake in Bedfordshire. #2020 #earthquake”
Another said: “I might be dumb but I thought the UK couldn’t get earthquakes. Felt it in Leighton Buzzard, I was scared for a moment.”
The epicentre of the quake was near Slough, in Berkshire.
One added: “The whole house just shook. Anyone know what just happened in Leighton Buzzard?”
A Twitter user posted: “I’m near Aylesbury and the whole house shook quite violently. Pretty disturbing.”
Bedfordshire Police said the force was taking a “large” number of calls from the public but no injuries have been reported.
A tweet said: “Our control room are currently experiencing a large number of calls due to an earthquake which was felt across the county.
“We have currently received no reports of any injuries or major structural damage.”