‘Once in a lifetime’ UK earthquake happens twice in the same location

‘Once in a lifetime’ UK earthquake happens twice in the same location
Only around 20 to 30 earthquakes are normally felt by British residents every year (Image: Shutterstock)

A small earthquake in Newdigate, near Gatwick Airport, shook Surrey and West Sussex on 27 June, less than three months after the area’s first recorded case, on 1 April.

The more recent tremor measured in at 2.6 on the Richter scale, shaking houses and furniture in Newdigate, Charlwood and Crawley, according to scientists from the British Geological Survey (BGS).

The quake itself took place at a depth of 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) just before 12:30pm.

A possible pattern

The epicentre of April’s earthquake (which happened on Easter Sunday) was recorded 2.3 kilometres away from Newdigate in Surrey, measuring 2.7 on the Richter scale.

Experts said the initial Sussex earthquake would probably only happen "once in a lifetime" (Image: British Geological Survey)
Experts said the initial Sussex earthquake would probably only happen “once in a lifetime” (Image: British Geological Survey)

It was the first Surrey earthquake on record, and the largest in the South of England since 1985.

At the time, West Sussex County Times reported that the earthquake was likely to be a “once in a lifetime event”, according to David Galloway at the BGS.

The area’s second earthquake was felt just 13 weeks later, and even occurred at a similar time of day to the first, which took place at 12:10pm on 1 April.

Not in an earthquake zone

Seismologist David Galloway also revealed that there had been just 25 earthquakes recorded in the South of England since 1750.

Following news of the recent earthquake, Sarah Nice from the BGS clarified that Britain is not in an earthquake zone, but its rocks do have stresses and strains that can move and lead to tremors.

Around 20 to 30 earthquakes are felt by UK residents, every year, while several hundred more are so small that only sensitive instruments can detect them.