The north of England has been struck by a small earthquake, the British Geological Survey (BGS) said.
The tremor measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale is the second to hit the region in less than a month. The epicentre of the quake is believed to have been near Ripon, North Yorkshire, but the tremor was felt as far afield as Cumbria and West Yorkshire.
Dr Brian Baptie from the BGS told Sky News: “We believe the earthquake was in North Yorkshire, just west of Ripon in the Yorkshire Dales region.”
Cumbria resident Richard Lambert said he initially thought the quake was a helicopter passing overhead.
He told Sky News: “I was just sat down on the sofa and I could hear a loud rumbling coming from outside. I thought it was a Chinook helicopter, it sort of got louder and louder, I could hear the glasses in the kitchen rattling and the rumbling coming from outside.”
The tremor is the second to hit England in the space of a few weeks. Last month the BGS confirmed that an earthquake of local magnitude 3.5 on the Richter scale took place shortly before 11pm on December 21 in Coniston in the Lake District.
Dr Aoife O’Mongain from the BGS said the epicentre of the quake was 10 kilometres west of Ripon with a depth of six kilometres.
She added: “It would have only lasted for a couple of seconds. And at that strength it is not likely that it would have caused any damage. People living in the vicinity may have felt their windows rattling as if a lorry was going past.”
Other 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, Lincs.
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 as the tremor hit Folkestone.