Irish Sea quake aftershocks expected

Irish Sea quake aftershocks expected

AFTERSHOCKS from two earthquakes that struck in the Irish Sea, may be felt in Britain for days to come, it has been claimed.

The Irish National Seismic Network said the quakes were likely to have been caused by stresses from the weight of glaciers covering land during the Ice Age.

Director Tom Blake said it was unusual that the earthquakes - measuring 2.4 and 3.3 on the Richter scale - happened off the North West coast of England in the Irish Sea.

"It is impossible to tell if stronger earthquakes will occur in the coming days and weeks, but aftershocks can be expected even if most, if not all, will be too weak to be felt," Mr Blake said.

No injuries have been reported.

The British Geological Survey recorded the times of the quakes. The first was recorded at 05:30 BST on Sunday, with the stronger quake at a depth of 5km occurring at 10:00 BST.

This earthquake was also recorded by seismometers in Donegal and Wexford.

Mr Blake, from the School of Cosmic Physics in the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, said their cause was not unusual in comparison to previous earthquakes in Britain and Ireland.

"Although Britain and Ireland are far from any plate boundaries, much of the region is still experiencing quakes due to the removal of the weight of ice sheets that once covered the land," he said.

"Occasionally this post-glacial isostatic rebound - the phenomenon of the land surface gradually returning to its pre-glacial contours - results in earthquakes of this magnitude, particularly in the northern half of the islands."

According to the Irish National Seismic Network the largest earthquake to affect Ireland occurred on the Llyn peninsula, North Wales, in July 1984.

It was the largest ever recorded earthquake on mainland Britain, measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale, and was felt throughout Ireland’s east coast, Wales and England.