Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Wednesday, 27 February 2008

'Shake and rattle' as quake hits

British Geological Survey seismogram showing the earthquake
The epicentre of the earthquake was in Lincolnshire

People across many parts of Wales have told of their alarm after being shaken by the UK's biggest earthquake for almost a quarter of a century.

The 10-second tremor just before 0100 GMT was felt in north, mid and south Wales, although its epicentre was in Lincolnshire on England's east coast.

The quake had a 5.3 magnitude, which the British Geological Survey described as significant.

It was the biggest since a tremor with a 5.4 magnitude in north Wales in 1984.

The tremor was also felt in large parts of England, including Newcastle, Yorkshire, London, Manchester, the Midlands and Norfolk.

Staff at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said they had felt the earthquake in their headquarters in Rhyl.

The service took calls from people asking what had happened but were not called to any related incidents.

The tremor was also felt by officers in the North Wales Police headquarters.

'Sustained rumble'

BBC News website readers started emailing their experiences within minutes.

Sian Fairlie, of Deeside, e-mailed BBC Wales to say the tremors were "rather scary".

She wrote: "At approx 0058 my partner and I felt a definite tremor which lasted 10-12 seconds, strongest felt since I was a child.

"I was lying on the sofa and felt as if it was swaying, it certainly was enough to make me feel queasy! Also two loud bangs were heard, one during and one just as it ended."

In Rhiwbina, Cardiff, a loud noise woke Andy and Janice Matthews at exactly the same time.

Mrs Matthews said: "We've got fitted wardrobes attached to the wall. There was just a loud rattling noise of the coat hangers. At first, I thought it was a bird on the aerial, it was a twanging noise.

"I looked at the clock and it was exactly 0100 GMT. We checked the kids were ok and just went back to sleep."

Sarah Roberts, of Ruthin, Denbighshire, e-mailed to report that she and her partner had been aware that the house very obviously shook.

She said: "Having settled our daughter to bed at 0030, we were both drifting off to sleep when there was an odd noise then a strong 'tremor'.

"There was a rumbling noise and it just felt like the whole room shook.


"I was pretty sure. I remember the quake of '84. I was only 10 then."

Joshua Clare, who also lives in Ruthin, said: "I felt a definite sustained rumble and it was strong enough to rattle pictures on the walls."

From Wrexham, Jo Settle, said: "I woke to the noise of the wardrobe doors clattering and then realised the bed was shaking.

"This morning I discovered a tile hanging down the side of the house!"

North Wales Police said they received about a dozen calls from people reporting the earthquake but none reported damage to property.

"Some people reported books, falling off shelves, but there was nothing more serious than that," said a force spokeswoman.

We asked for comments from people who felt the tremor. Below is a selection of those we received:

I was sat on my sofa listening to music, with laptop on my knee. I didn't hear anything (as I had headphones on) but I felt the sofa moving and thought someone was behind the sofa, or climbing out from under it! Scared the living daylights out of me.
Alan Downes, holywell, wales

I was on the computer at the time and felt the floor wobbling and what sounded like a distant rumble. It would be similar to a herd of lorries passing the house though, obviously, without the lorries. At first I thought the wind was getting a little strong then realised that it would have to be v.gusty to wobble the house! I then guessed (correctly) that it was an earthquake. My first that I've experienced! I slept through the one in '84. Strange yet somehow thrilling.
Danny Hartley, Gwespyr, Flintshire

I was woken up at around 1:00 and thought somebody was shaking the bed. It didn't feel real and i thought i was imagining it at first.
Chris Hoyle, Rhyl

I couldn't sleep and was lying there in the dark when I heard a rattling by the side of my bed. I had my glasses and various hairclips, earrings etc, everything was rattling. It stopped and then started again only for a matter of seconds. I was so unnerved I put my bedside lamp on and could see the time was 12.55.a.m.
Sue Harries, Llanelli Carmarthenshire

I was asleep but my wife was awake and called me. I woke up and could hear the wardrobe doors rattling and the bed was moving back and forth. We were both really scared and thought the house was falling down. It soon passed but we didn't know for sure if it was an earthquake or a problem with our foundations until switching on TV this morning.
Marc, Halkyn, Flintshire

I was awake in bed and suddenly felt the bed starting to shake, then wardrobe doors started to shake and rattle. My husband woke and thought it was me trembling! My cats were spooked by it. The fitted wardrobe has come away slightly from the wall.
Jan, Deganwy, Conwy

I was awoken by our fitted wardrobes rattling, and it felt the whole house was moving with a rippling sensation. I had no idea what was happening, even thought I was imagining it. In the morning I asked my husband if he felt it but he had no recollection of it and did not believe me when I said it could have been an earthquake, until we listened to the news.
Rachel, Caldicot, South Wales

I was awake reading at about 1am when I thought I could hear a helicopter coming. I lay there and listened but other than a slight rumbling it was deadly quiet, The rumbling got gradually worse and the house began to shake. I was absolutely petrified, having never experienced any thing like this before I woke my husband up who thought I was a complete nutter!! Needless to say, he phoned me from work to apologise this morning!!!!
Stacey Kelly, Buckley, Flintshire

The bed shook, the garage door rattled, the house moved slightly. Felt like earthquakes I've experienced in Japan, where I was often woken by a small quake in the night. Interestingly, the cat was in a state of high alert moments before, as if another cat had marched into his territory. I could hear the birds on Brymbo Pool.
Susan, Brymbo, Wrexham, UK

I woke up to find the bed shaking and the room rattling.I was so scared I could not get back to sleep.The dog was sleeping on the bed and I thought it was her messing about!
gill griffiths, Ruthin

I was at work at the Morrisons store in Denbigh and 3 bottles fell off the shelves!
Willy Calagui, Rhewl, Ruthin, Denbighshire, North Wales

I was awakened around 1AM to feel the bed shaking and hear objects rattling on the shelves. It did not last very long about 8-10 seconds. This was my first experience of a quake and it has left me feeling thankful it was only a slight tremor cause i am not ashamed to admit i was a little scared hehe!!
Sian , Nr Mold, N.Wales

i live along side a railway line and at first thought it was a large number of trucks passing. The bed and walls shook.
ruth daniles, rhyl clwyd

I felt the tremor last night. We had just gone to bed when we heard a noise like a big gust of wind. The house began to shake and the tiles were rattling. It lasted about 10 seconds and was unnerving. I was in Pwllheli in 1985 when the last big shake happened. That incident lasted longer and was more scarey.
Chris Chisholm, Hawarden Flintshire

My husband and I live alongside the railway line at Rhyl and at first thought it was a train going past but only realised it was an earthquake when we saw the news this morning.
Stella, Rhyl, Denbighshire

Two of my teenage children were both woken up in the night. One by a strong jolt, and the other by his bed vibrating as if an express train was passing. It lasted for about 10 seconds. An unnerving experience for them, but my wife and I slept through it all.
John, Mynydd Isa, North Wales

Earthquake felt in wrexham, I woke to the wardrobe doors clattering then realised the bed was shaking. This morning I discovered a tile hanging down from the side of the house!
Jo Settle, wrexham

We were awaken at around 1am by the trophy cabinet rattling and jumping the bed was shaking and the laminate floor was vibrating, it must have been litrally a few seconds but it felt like longer, my husband turned to me and said don't worry it's either an old mine collapsing or an earthquake and went back to sleep!!!
C Lane, Nantymoel Bridgend

What tremor? I had a great night's sleep! Then again I live on a main road with so many vehicles passing at high speed, that I've learned to filter out rumbling noises that are usually oversized exhausts and bass speakers at full volume!
Ade Provis, Pentre, RCT

I had just switched off the bedside lamp - and was about to turn in when the headboard started to rattle fiercely. I was absolutely petrified and concerned that our home would collapse. The intensity of the earthquake was similar to those we have experienced in South Africa before - and is on par with the quakes we experienced in Wales during October. Truly worrying.
Monica du Plessis, Lleweni, Denigh, Wales

my husband and I were sitting in living room chatting.At 12.58 the ground shook and I said its a tremor.It lasted for around 9 secs.
Yvonne Payne, Rhosllanerchrugog

I was just drifting off to sleep when my whole room started to shake just before 1 o'clock this morning
Kim, Rhyl

i was sitting on my bed using my laptop at around 1am. at first i thought it was because i was really tired but i swear i felt my bed shake slightly. a few seconds later a friend of mine from england said their whole house was just shaking. i told my mum this morning and she said she felt it too. she also said she thought our house was getting broken into becuase there was noises coming from the back garden and the dog was barking.
Beckiee, Port talbot South Wales

I was woken just before 1.00 a.m. to find my televison and aerial visibly moving and rattling on my bedside table, I actually thought to myself, if I didn't know better I would swear we have just had an earthquake.
Angela Robinson, Ruthin, Denbighshire

I was in bed when the whole room started shaking, after it stopped I didn't think nothing of it until the morning when I heard that it was an earthquake.
Ian Evans, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

well i was about to fall asleep and i felt something and it was wierd, i didnt know what to do so i just let it pass till this morning when i got told it was an earth quake.
stephanie, mold (north wales)

It woke me up, at first I thought I was dreaming, the bed was shaking and it lasted for several seconds.
Robert N. Shopland, Tonypandy, Rhondda, Wales.

I felt it distinctly. I'd just got into bed and was reading and the wall and bed started shaking, the water in a glass carried on shaking for about 30 seconds or more. It was a bizarre feeling, I wouldn't like to be in a stronger quake!
Janie Watkins, Aberwheeler, Denbigh

I sleep in the third floor bedroom of an old Victorian house. It was about 12.56 and I was in bed but not yet asleep. There was a distinctive rumble which felt like a very powerful draught of wind outside the windows and then the bed started to shake backwards and forwards. It truly felt as if the joists beneath the floorboards were being slid backwards and forwards as well. The whole room felt as if it was swaying and then the vibration seemed to just peter out. The end of it was marked by a heavy rumbling like a lorry going past......scary stuff. I relaised what it was quite quickly - I remember '84. Wouldn't want to experience anything any more violent though.
lisa francis, aberystwyth

i was in bed when i heard my bedroom door shakin, then my bed started shaking for about 10 seconds.
ron wilson, acton ,wrexham

I live near a quarry and from time to time my house will shake from a blast. I was watching TV at 1am and my whole room started to shake. Having my room in the 3rd floor (attic conversion) it was very noticable and the first thing that came to mind was a quarry blast but it lasted a lot longer. Never felt an earthquake tremmor before and untill i saw it on the news i was unsure what it was..
Robert Clear, Llantrisant, South Wales

I was woken by a "crashing noise". I was convinced that somebody had broken into the house and had tripped over in the dark. I searched the house to see if this had happened, found nothing. Had no idea it was an earthqwake until morning news.
John Peers, Menai Bridge Anglesey

I live in an attic room and was woken up by my bed shaking and the pictures on my wall banging. I thought it was a poltergeist!! Luckily I realised what it was and texted my housemates and went to sleep. I live with 4 other people and I was the only one woken up by it. Very surreal!!
Nick Alderton, Bangor, Wales

I had gone to sleep around midnight. What seemed like a short while after I was awoken by a loud rattling noise. It wasn't like a noise I had heard bfore but it was similar to windows shaking when a large lorry passed by. The first noise lasted a couple of seconds and then subsided only to be followed by a similar noise which again lasted for a few seconds. I didn't wake my wife as she was snoring next to me (no it wasn't her that I heard!!). I thought no more of it until I heard it on the news this morning!! It was quite frightening!
Kevin McCarthy, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales

We live in Rhiwbina Cardiff, andw we felt the earthquake last night, our bedroom is on the third floor and the coat hangers hanging on the bedroom door rattled so loudly it woke up me and my husband - it was exactly one o clock. Janice Matthews

I felt the earth tremor aswell, my whole room was shakin and creaking!!
Griff, Penmaenmawr

I was sat by my computer and the room started shaking then afterwards all the power went off and the alarms were going to. It felt like a big one!
Ryan Davies, Llantwit major South Glamorgan

I had just turned out the light at about 12.58am when I felt the bed sway. I thought I had imagine it until I turned on the breakfast show this morning!
Jill Davies, Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent

I was woken by a loud rumble to find both my bed and bookshelf rattling. Thought it may have been Jt snoring!!!
Andy McHugh, Ruthin, Denbighshire

I too felt the tremor, although personally i had no idea what time it was, i woke from my sleep breifly hearing a rumbling noise, then felt the house shaking and fell back to sleep, the new in the morning confirmed i had dreamt anything!!.
catherine, llanddulas

Awoke to hear my border collie howling!Looked at my watch - it was 00.57 hours. Tuned into 5Live radio - calls and texts being received from all over the U.K. He settled but starting barking about 04.00hours.
Jo, Ammanford. South Wales

My pet cats were going mad last night running up and down the stairs just before i went to bed, then i heard this loud noice like thunder or like a small explosion it sounded really frightning, looked at the clock and it was about 1.00. thought nothing of it untill i went on the news website this morning and found out what it was.
a. jones, rhiwbina cardiff

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