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Tremor sparked 1,000 alerts; Quake was 3.5 on scale.

Byline: Paul Tully

AN earthquake which hit Cumbria was felt as far away as Northumberland, experts revealed yesterday. The earth tremor shook large parts of the Lake District but was felt as far east as Catton village, near Allendale, in Northumberland.

The quake, measuring 3.5 on the Richter Scale, rattled windows and moved small objects but caused no serious damage or injury.

The British Geological Survey in Edinburgh received over 1,000 alerts about the quake.

Spokesman Dave Galloway told The Journal: "The easternmost was a single one from Catton, near Allendale in south-west Northumberland.

"We also received messages from the Brampton area and Alston in Cumbria."

The tremor, with its epicentre at Coniston in the Lakes, occurred at 10.59pm on Tuesday night.

Yesterday at The Crown pub in Catton, locals were largely unaware of the tremor and one man said: "No-one here was aware of anything, though someone has apparently felt something in the village."

In the Northumberland-Cumbria border village of Halton Lea Gate, villager Alan Clues said: "We have heard the reports of the quake on the news and I have spoken to people in the village, but it seems it has missed us out this time."

The Coniston quake - officially described as "minor" - came 24 hours after a 3.8 tremor on the Norwegian coast.

Coniston was measured at nine miles undergound and Dr Brian Baptie, BGS Head of Seismology, said: "We get an earthquake of this size somewhere in the UK roughly every 12-18 months. Damage is very unlikely.

An earthquake of this size and depth might be felt 80-100km away. It has probably made windows and doors rattle and small objects might have been displaced."

Eskdale hotelier Alan Robertson said: "There was this sort of really loud rumble. The whole building shook.

"I ran out of the front door, only to be confronted by the other guests running out of their part of the house. We couldn't believe it."

Peter Kelly, owner of the Yewdale Hotel in Coniston, added: "It probably lasted about 30 seconds - it was quite noticeable.

"We felt a bang and a rumbling but we couldn't decide what it was."

There have been six quakes in the last 40 years within 50km (31 miles) of Tuesday's. That included one registered at 4.7 in Carlisle on Boxing Day, 1979.

Both Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service and Cumbria Police said they received a number of calls following Tuesday night's tremor but all were to query what had happened.

In a statement, Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service said: "We can confirm that following the earth tremor that occurred in Cumbria that we have received numerous calls from members of the public but at the present time we are not attending any incidents which are related to the earth tremor."

A spokesman for Cumbria Police said: "People rang in to say they had felt a tremor and were then told there had been an earthquake. We have had no reports of damages or injuries."

South Lakeland District Council said it had not been informed of any structural problems.

Recent quakes in the UK include one in February 2008, when a major tremor centred on Lincolnshire shook much of the UK, causing damage to buildings and leaving at least one person injured.

The tremor - which measured 5.2 on the Richter scale - struck at around 1am on February 27 at Market Rasen. But it was felt as far away as Tyneside.

And in Kent in April 2007, another tremor measured 4.3 on the Richter scale. Homes were damaged as chimneys toppled, walls cracked and masonry fell when the tremor hit Folkestone.


RICHTER SCALE People in Northumberland felt the effects of the Cumbria tremor
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 23, 2010
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