Cornwall Shaken By Earthquake

An earthquake shook Cornwall in the early hours of yesterday morning when tremors with a magnitude of 2.2 rolled out of Bodmin.

Experts at the British Geological Survey said the quake struck at 2.40am with its epicentre close to Bodmin, although it could be detected as far afield as Padstow and St Austell.

Sue Dibble, 67, from St Tudy in North Cornwall, said she was suddenly woken in the night by a “whooshing noise”.

She said: “It’s very hard to explain but it was like a large whooshing noise and the house shook and the bed shook – it really scared me. I woke my husband up and he didn’t hear it and he honestly thought I was imagining it.

“I happened to go round to the village shop this morning and several other people were talking about it and asking what on earth had happened.

“Everybody was saying, ‘What was it? Was it an explosion, or what?’ and nobody knew.”

Mrs Dibble, who is now retired, phoned her local BBC radio station to try to find out what had caused the tremor.

She said she was not too shocked to learn it was an earthquake, adding: “I believe there was one in this area some years ago, but I think I slept through that one.”

The quake was large enough to be recorded by a seismograph, but at 2.2 magnitude it is classified as “minor” by experts. By comparison, the earthquake which caused a trail of devastation in New Zealand in February measured 6.3 magnitude.

Dorothy Turton, who lives in Newquay, said the quake had initially sounded like thunder a long way off.

“I thought I’d heard a thunder storm in the distance but all of a sudden I felt a rumble that was really quite hard and I thought; that’s more than thunder. The next thing I knew, the bed moved,” she said.

Tina Evans, from St Dennis Road, in Padstow, said: “We were aware something happened, it was very quick. It didn’t last long, but there definitely was movement.”

Inspector Dave Meredith, who lives in the Newquay area, sent out a message on Twitter, saying: “Woken up by earthquake last night. Whole house shook, followed by deep rumble. No damage.”

The BGS measured the depth of the Bodmin quake as three kilometres, but pointed out that a minor tremor like this one was relatively common in the UK and rarely caused damage to property.

Seismologist David Galloway said the UK had between 150 and 200 quakes a year, but of these, only 20 or 30 are felt by anyone, although the larger ones in this country can cause structural damage. In the last major tremor, some roofs were damaged when a 5.2 magnitude earthquake struck Lincolnshire just before 1am on February 27, 2008.

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