April 29, 2007 / 5:19 AM / 10 years ago

Emergency services assess tremor damage

<p>A man passes debris on a pavement in the centre of Folkestone, following earth tremors in Kent in southeast England April 28, 2007. An earth tremor hit southeast England on Saturday, police said, bringing down power lines and damaging some buildings in the Folkestone area of Kent. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>

LONDON (Reuters) - Emergency services were dealing on Sunday with the aftermath of a small earthquake in Kent that brought down power lines and caused structural damage.

Kent Fire Brigade deployed firefighters in Folkestone -- the area worst hit by the tremor -- to assess how bad the damage was in Saturday morning’s tremor.

“People need to be aware of the risk of the falling masonry and roof tiles,” said Kent Police.

A 30-year-old woman suffered a minor head and neck injury during the earthquake though there were no reports of serious injuries.

“We can be genuinely thankful so few people were injured,” said Chief Superintendent Alasdair Hope.

Kent Fire Brigade received more than 400 calls following the tremor while several families spent the night in emergency accommodation.

<p>A handout image provided by the British Geological Survey shows a seismogram depicting the earth tremor that shook parts of southeastern England, April 28, 2007. An earth tremor hit southeast England on Saturday, police said, bringing down power lines and damaging some buildings in the Folkestone area of Kent. The following information was provided to explain the seismogram. The letters, such as MCH and DYA, to the left of the image are abbreviations for the stations on which each seismogram was recorded, i.e. MCH = Michaelchurch, DYA = Devon (Yadsworthy), SWN = Swindon. Bear in mind that these are just a few of the many stations on which the event was recorded. The time given at the bottom is in UTC, not BST. The 'flat line' at the start of each trace shows the 'normal' vibrations of the ground prior to the earthquake, then they jump in amplitude showing the vibration created by the event. REUTERS/British Geological Survey/Handout. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.</p>

Experts gave differing estimates of the earthquake’s strength with the U.S. Geological Survey measuring the tremor’s magnitude at 4.7 on the Richter scale while the British Geological Survey put it at 4.3.

“It’s similar to ones in 1950 and 1776,” said Dr Roger Musson of the British Geological Survey (BGS). “We’re quite fortunate that it’s as small as it is.”

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The earthquake brought down power lines with several thousand homes affected, but EDF Energy Networks said service were quickly restored in the Folkestone and Dover areas.

The tremor, which struck at 8:18 a.m., was the largest British earthquake since the one that hit Dudley in the West Midlands in 2002.

“Damaging earthquakes are rare but not unknown in the UK, and the Kent region is one of those areas that has experienced them before,” said Professor Bill McGuire, the director of Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre.

“Two big quakes shook the Dover Straits in 1382 and 1580, reportedly causing widespread damage in adjacent areas of England and France.”

McGuire said the largest recent tremor in Britain was the 1931 Dogger Bank earthquake, which measured 6.1 on the Richter scale and was felt in France and Belgium.”

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