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Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
UK quake: How badly hit were you?
The UK has been hit by an earthquake which was felt as far afield as Cambridge, Wales and North Yorkshire.

Residents in the affected areas inundated the emergency services with calls, anxious to know what was going on and what action should be taken.

West Midlands police said they had 5,000 calls to their switchboard within an hour of the tremor happening and 600 calls to the 999 number.

In Dudley 12 people in nightclothes walked into their local police station such was their concern.

BBC weather forecaster Pete Gibbs has said it is not that unusual to have an earth tremor "but it is unusual to be that widespread and that widely reported".

Where were you when the quake struck and how badly affected were you by it?

Have your say

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Bed shook and I thought my partner was dreaming and twitching around! Then she woke and asked me to check if the kids were out of bed. Couldn't believe it when I heard that the epicentre was Birmingham (we are in Stockport!)
Martin Jones, England

The most amazing thing reading this forum is the number of people who are doing anything but sleeping at 1am!
Alan, UK


All I could think of was will my dodgy DIY pointing job I'd done in the afternoon still be okay

A McNeil, Wolverhampton, England
I was awoken by the start of the shaking (like a train in your cellar here) and all I could think of was will my dodgy DIY pointing job I'd done in the afternoon still be okay. My wife made me check the outside of the house with a torch just to be sure I hadn't missed anything "serious". But I thought it was great - my kids were upset they were asleep!
A McNeil, Wolverhampton, England

I am a scientist studying earthquakes at Oxford and yet have never felt one. All day, my friends and colleagues have been e-mailing me about last night's quake. It woke my girlfriend up in our home in Oxford. But I am in San Francisco - in the middle of the San Andreas Fault Zone - on a 3 month visit to the US Geological Survey. Surely I should be feeling quakes. A sobering thought: the earthquake that struck Turkey in 1999 was around 1000 times stronger than the quake felt last night across the UK.
Tim, Currently in California, USA

Currently living in New Zealand on a fault line these past eight years with no real earthquake experiences makes me smile to think prior to that I was close to Dudley for 30 years with still no joy. Ah well, I'm sure my time will come.
Glen Jansen, New Zealand


Imagine my surprise when I turned on the TV in Japan this morning, to see my village staring back at me

Helen, Japan
Imagine my surprise when I turned on the TV in Japan this morning, to see my village staring back at me. I've been here a couple of years now, and have not yet felt an earthquake! Still, at least I got to see my local pub on TV - could just drink a nice pint of Banks's now!
Helen, Japan

I live in Tokyo, in one of the most earthquake-ridden countries in the world, and we're always on a vague alert for when the long overdue "big one" is going to hit Tokyo. So I never expected such a big earthquake to hit the UK - an earthquake of 4.8 in Japan is considered big enough to warrant reporting in the press, even here!
Suze, Japan

I was late night studying for a forthcoming Open University exam. The table juddered. The lights flickered off and came back on again, and I carried on working. I was neither shaken nor stirred, but it was a strange sensation, and made one aware of the immense natural power under our feet.
Phil W, Wilts, UK

I was woken at around 01:40 because my bunk bed was shaking violently for 2-3 seconds. At first I thought it was my dad playing tricks on me but then I heard about the earthquake from my mum.
Stephen Newey, UK

I was in bed watching Casino when I heard a loud bang. I assumed it was my son turning over in bed in the next room. Then the house began to sway. Very weird experience.
Lisa, Bristol, UK

My granddad was at work when he felt a rumble and he saw the floor moving at about 1.20am.
Kirsty Leighton, West Yorkshire


We felt it all the way down here, honest!

Mark Jones, Hampshire, England
I felt the quake all the way down here. It's probably about 150 miles away. The thing is, apart from my brother and myself no one we spoke to felt anything. We felt it, honest!
Mark Jones, Hampshire, England

I slept right through the earthquake. By coincidence, I was reading the Horrible Geography book Earth Shattering Earthquakes at 10:30 last night. Our newly bought broadband modem moved only four inches at the most.
William Noble, England

I was in bed at the time of the tremor, everything was shaking. My first thought was that this may be the result of a terrorist attack, a bomb maybe. Sad but this is the climate that we live in.
Pal, England

We live in Cradley Heath, which is very near the epicentre. The shaking went on for what seemed to be about twenty seconds, and we felt nauseous afterwards.
Adam Chater, UK

I thought "This is the end..." and was very disturbed, while my partner said "Why don't you have a look on the BBC website? If something dreadful has happened they will report it within minutes." I then had a wakeful night wondering whether or not to get up and learn the worst. I was glad to wake up to a lovely sunny morning!
Barbara, Ilkley, W Yorkshire

The most scary thing was that we seemed to be the only people up and about while it was happening and felt very alone. Spooky.
David, Dudley

We didn't feel a thing down here in Torbay. We have been having lovely weather down here and no tremors. Why not come down for a weekend break and get over the earthquake?
Ave, UK


We both agreed it was the washing machine

Adam and Delma, UK
After a heavy weekend, my girlfriend and I were heavily asleep when the earthquake struck. I remember waking up but soon returned to sleep. In the morning we discussed it in bed and both agreed it was the washing machine.
Adam and Delma, UK

I've never been so terrified... I called the police but they said there was nothing they could do... Why do I pay my taxes????
Ian, England

I thought someone was trying to come in, but a quick foray revealed nothing. This morning we found our only victim, a flower pot which was shaken off the wall and caused the smash I heard.
Bill Richmond, UK

The earth tremor I experienced in the Greek Islands a few years ago was only slightly stronger than the one last night. The following day we were told the neighbouring island had been destroyed by an earthquake in the 60s! Very comforting.
Russell, Herefordshire


I found myself sleep-walking

Andrzej Galan, Gloucestershire
I told my wife that I had a nightmare last night and found myself sleep-walking, looking out of the bedroom window, when I felt the floor moving. She told me in the morning that it was an actual earthquake, and not a dream after all (which I had thought was brought on by too much of her home-made parsnip wine - I don't think I'll have any more!)
Andrzej Galan, Gloucestershire

I live on a canal in west London and was woken by a loud squeaking which went on for about an hour - the boat rubbing against the mooring tyres. This usually only happens when it's really windy - I didn't realise there was an earthquake until I heard the news on the way to work.
Chris, London


The quake has torn a hole in my garden

Nigel, Wolverhampton, UK
The quake has torn a hole in my back garden... I'd always wanted a pond, but never dreamt it would come about this way!
Nigel, Wolverhampton, UK

I dismissed it as a train going past until a passer by knocked on my door to say my television aerial had fallen off the roof into the hood of his coat! Only then did I realise I don't live near a train track!
Morris, Northampton

My desk shook and the mouse moved so far as to bring the monitor out of hibernation. It was very unnerving.
Jenny Cunningham, Sandbach, Cheshire


I thought someone had bombed Milton Keynes

Ian Colligan, Cranfield, UK
I thought the war had started, and someone had bombed Milton Keynes. My whole body shook from head to toe. I've never been so scared.
Ian Colligan, Cranfield, UK

I live on the seventh floor of a tower block on Euston Road, Kings Cross end... the building noticeably shook and it left cups and lights swinging two inches side to side.
Dan London, England

I promised my partner a night of passion, but alas fell asleep after doing some overtime at work... but praise the Lord, at least he made the earth move for her.
Kevin, Birmingham, UK


The room vibrated alarmingly, the window frames cracking

Matt Stringfellow, Charnwood, N. Leics, UK
The room vibrated alarmingly, accompanied by the window frames cracking. Dogs outside were barking as the rumbling sound faded away. As I'm studying Geology at university, I found my first tremor experience fascinating. I'm just glad I don't live in places such as Japan where quakes can be more powerful!
Matt Stringfellow, Charnwood, N. Leics, UK

My Dad and I were talking and then stopped. I didn't feel quite right but didn't know why, and then I felt the chair shaking. My initial thought was that a nearby mine had collapsed. We went outside and quite a few other people were obviously awoken by the tremor.
Alan Clark, Bradford, UK

I was in a casino at the time. I felt the tremor underneath me then a second later I heard all the bottles shake at the bar. I saw the roof and tables shake. People started to go outside after a few seconds, worried, but then came back in shortly afterwards to continue playing. One punter later told me "You were worried? When the tremor hit the ball jumped out of my number!"
Brad, UK

It was intensely frightening. We live very close to Staveley Chemicals and my first thought was it had exploded.
Fated and Angyl, Derbyshire, UK


My legs were wobbling for another minute after that

Abdullaah, UK
What a great experience! There was a sound like an express train outside my window, and the desk, floor, walls, EVERYTHING started shaking for about 20 seconds, and then my legs were wobbling for another minute after that...
Abdullaah, UK

I still think you're all making it up!
George Prout, Reading

I was in work at the Queens Dock in Liverpool when the computer monitor was violently tossed off the table. I thought there had been an explosion.
Joe White, UK


My Yorkie never moved a muscle throughout!

Mike Cooke, Stoke
One myth that was dispelled was that animals are sensitive to this kind of thing. My Yorkie never moved a muscle, continuing to snore on throughout!
Mike Cooke, Stoke

I was on the phone to my sister and the settee shook as if someone was behind it. I was really freaked out and my sister never felt anything, yet she lives in south Wales and the news reckons Wales felt it most. Did anyone else in Sheffield (Gleadless) feel anything?
Lisa, England

I have a very startled cat this morning, not to mention a very startled mother! I have a feeling we will be talking about this at school today! What a day to have double geography!
Adam J, Walsall, West Mids, UK

Watching John Wayne film on TV. The whole room moved to and fro for about 15-20 seconds. Never slept afterwards as husband down at Builth Wells at a sheep sale.
Margaret Evans, Wales


Why are we having earthquakes of this magnitude?

Becky, Leamington Spa, West Midlands
I'm quite unnerved about this. Why are we having earthquakes of this magnitude in the UK? Isn't that usually something we don't get? Why have we gotten so many in past years? It was a really odd experience.
Becky, Leamington Spa, West Midlands

I felt the tremor around 1.00 in the morning whilst chatting online. It was like a freight train going past the house, everything shook a little and I felt a bit unsteady. An acquaintance in Hull felt it, but another in Leeds didn't feel a thing.
Graham, Cambridge, UK

We've had some structural work done on the ground floor of an old Victorian house. When the house started to shake and the noise was like you'd expect to hear when a wall falls down and we feared the worst. We spent the next 10 minutes trying to find which part of the house had fallen down. It wasn't until about 15 minutes later online I found a colleague who lives in North Birmingham who was also trying to find what was going on that we were sure it was a tremor. Pretty damned dramatic on the third floor of an old and slightly wobbly house!
Adrian, South Birmingham, UK


We must live in the most relaxed road in the UK

Chris, UK
We got woken at about 00:53 with the bed shaking, the wardrobe rattling and the house generally emitting a rumbling kind of noise. We sat still for about 10 seconds before guessing it was an earthquake. We must live in the most relaxed road in the UK - despite only being 10 miles or so from Dudley I only saw one other light in the whole road come on. As for people gathering in the street to discuss it - forget it!
Chris, UK

I work as a storeman at an engineering firm on shifts. I didn't feel a thing and feel quite left out. But reading the comments on this Talking Point has certainly made my night amusing. Thanks everyone.
Carl, England

I was woken at 1 am by the house shaking - I suppose it lasted about five seconds but seemed longer. Ornaments rattled but the lights were not swinging. I got up to see if anything had been affected in our house but luckily nothing I can see. There was a blackbird outside sounding the alarm for some time.
Celia Hatfield, Worcestershire, UK


All in all, quite a bewildering experience

Chris Briggs, Scunthorpe, UK
I had just gone to bed and was on the verge of dropping off to sleep when I heard what sounded like a rumbling sound lasting about five seconds and ending when my loft door rattled. Coming round with a start, I then spent the next 10 minutes looking for any signs of a break in. I didn't notice any movement from anyone else in the vicinity. I went back to bed feeling a little unnerved and wondering if I'd been dreaming. My wife felt the slight shaking and thought it was me getting out of bed. All in all, quite a bewildering experience.
Chris Briggs, Scunthorpe, UK

I felt the earthquake in Hitchin at around 1am. The bed shook, and at first I thought someone was in the room. It was weird, but I convinced myself I must have been dreaming! It wasn't until this morning I knew it had been an earthquake.
Carol, UK

I was lying in bed drifting nicely off to sleep when I heard a loud deep rumbling noise, the room shook slightly and I thought maybe an RAF Hercules transport plane was flying over. Then the room really started shaking, the wardrobe banged against the wall, blinds and doors rattled. I'd felt a tiny tremor whilst travelling in Costa Rica years ago and realised what was happening, though the Costa Rica tremor was much less than last night's. I looked out my window and saw lights pop on in the houses nearby and other confused faces peering out. While earthquakes cause untold suffering in other parts of the world, last nights caused a bit of excitement on an otherwise uneventful Sunday night.
Andy Icke, Evesham, UK

I was wide awake suddenly with the whole house shaking quite strongly and a very deep rumbling noise that went on for several seconds - very strange. I'm glad to find that it was an earth tremor or else it would have had me seriously worried about my neighbours.
Toby Clempson, Gloucester

The whole house seemed to shake and I assumed somebody had tried to break in. I searched everywhere but there was nothing so I went back to bed. Thanks for solving the mystery.
Mike, UK


I thought it was my husband twitching in his sleep

Denise Baylis, UK
We live in Rushden, Northants. I felt the tremor last night. I thought it was my husband twitching in his sleep. This morning, before I heard the news, I mentioned it to my daughter and she said I must have been dreaming. Then I put the radio on.
Denise Baylis, UK

I went from being sound asleep to being wide awake in an instant. There was a loud thump followed by everything was shaking for about five seconds (I live not far from the epicentre). At first I thought one of the cats must have knocked something over, but they were quite concerned. My father was working nights in Birmingham city centre, and everyone there thought it must be a bomb.
Drew Flynn, UK

I live about 20 to 30 miles from where the epicentre was said to be. House shook violently - my initial thought was that my house had been hit by a large vehicle! Lasted no more than three seconds. Could hear it coming seconds before it hit. Very exciting!
Matt Capper, Shropshire, UK

I am a nurse who was on night duty in a Norwich nursing home. I was having a quiet moment in a chair and felt the chair move underneath me. I did think "that was an earthquake" but thought nothing more of it until I got home and realised I was right!
Bruce Barnard, UK

Here in Nottingham, the earthquake hit at 01:01, I was awake and reading in bed, there were two shocks close together which rattled the windows and shook the house, I got up to take a look outside, to check if there was any sign of damage, happily not!
Ali Wearing, Notts, UK

After watching Armageddon the same night, you can imagine the thoughts in my head when the entire house shook violently whilst I was in bed. Once I'd managed to wake up a bit it clicked it was an earthquake or bomb. Weird experience for Manchester.
Michael, UK

Here in California there are earthquakes of that magnitude of a regular basis and to be honest I've not yet felt one. I am amazed that people were actually awoken by the one in Britain, you must be very light sleepers.
Philip, USA

I am usually able to sleep through anything but was woke up by the house shaking, my first thought was that a bomb had exploded. The entire room started to shake and seemed to last for about 30 seconds. I have been awake all night since then because I couldn't go back to sleep, and I have felt a couple of little aftershocks.
Robert Cartwright, England

Felt the tremor in Kimberley, Nottinghamshire around 1am for around 30 seconds, firstly small movement, short gap and then was aware of the movement, the house felt as though it and everything moved - had experienced the same thing some years ago in Rhodes and therefore had no doubt it was an earth tremor.
Pauline Nicholls, England

I had headphones on whilst writing some music. I missed the whole event and would have remained oblivious had it not been for this website.
James, England


It brightened up my boring and uneventful Sunday night

Dan, Birmingham
That was so much fun. I understand earthquakes can be very dangerous and upsetting to many but that was excellent. It brightened up my otherwise boring and uneventful Sunday night.
Dan, Birmingham

As we were chatting a sudden movement of the furniture shocked us! We stayed frozen for 20 seconds and we tried to find out what was happening. We went outside to see neighbours' reactions and to feel more secure. Then we woke up the rest of our housemates. They where laughing at us and they didn't believe that an earthquake had happened in Britain. They believed us when they read the incident in the BBC site (which had a very fast response)! We are still awake and anxious.
Nick/Leo, Bradford, UK

I was reading in bed and had dozed off. I woke suddenly when my bed starting to shake, along with the walls and windows. I've never experienced a quake before, but some ancient, inbuilt instinct must have been responsible for the first thought to pass my groggy brain - "Danger, earthquake!" After reading your article I am now imagining the restless earth grinding far, far below me. Powerful stuff!
Hannah, Oxford


One of them thought that there was a ghost in her house!

Graham, Gloucester
I work overnight at First Direct in Leeds. At around one o'clock several of us experienced a sickly swaying lasting several seconds in our second floor office. Subsequently, for some strange reason we received several calls from customers to ask us if we had felt anything also (as they were unable to get a response from 999!!)
Simon Davies, UK

I was chatting to a few friends on the internet when the earthquake happened. None of them believed me until they felt it a few minutes later in Reading and in Kings Cross, London! One of them thought that there was a ghost in her house!
Graham, Gloucester

The earth tremor hit Market Harborough, Leicestershire, at about 0105 BST. The whole house shook, windows rattled, chairs and beds were shaking. The roaring sound was very loud and it was very scary. People were looking out of their windows and standing outside wondering what was happening. At first I thought an explosion had happened in the town.
Marilyn Hill, UK

I was in the bath and felt two shakes lasting a few seconds. It was very frightening. My first thoughts was a bomb.
Rachel Sheldon, Tamworth

My wife and I felt the tremor at our home near Atherstone, North Warwickshire, just before 1am. The windows at the front of the house rattled, but particularly noticeable was the deep rumbling that went on for what seemed a long time. As soon as it started I recognised it as being very similar to the one felt last year. What surprised me even more was my mother-in-law phoning up at about 1.30am to see if we'd felt/heard the earthquake.
Nick, UK


We woke to the sound of the windows rattling and a strange feeling in our stomachs

Stu Carter, UK
At work in large RAC building on M6. Very scary as building shook severely. We evacuated onto the car park.
Kim Roelake, Walsall

We woke to the sound of the windows rattling and a strange feeling in our stomachs. It soon passed, but it felt like a really large truck was turning outside the house. We went outside and noticed lights on and distant alarms ringing. We guessed it had to be an earthquake of some sort - and luckily our neighbourhood is quite close, so others came out to confirm our thoughts. Being my first earthquake, it's strange when everything you know is proven false - everyone knows the earth stays still! I still can't sleep, two and a half hours later.
Stu Carter, UK

Whilst working and going about our nursing duties we felt the floor move under our feet. We tried to contact the Met Office to determine what had happened and then we visited your website which gave us a detailed account. No patients on the ward felt anything. However, we had numerous phone calls from other wards who had experienced the same thing.
Nurses, Gwent

I felt a pulse, as if somebody had fallen in the flat next door, except perhaps bigger and without sound. No problem, though.
Pete, East London


It was a unique and scary sensation

Richard Purvis, Worcestershire
I was in bed in Bolton when the tremor struck. My windows, bed and mirror all shook for a number of seconds at 12.55am
Carl Ogden, England

I was in my home when the floor stared shaking like mad! I was so scared I fell off the arm of the chair. I could feel the floor shaking too and all my family was wondering what was going on.
Sammy, England

The whole house shook for a couple of seconds, it felt like a car had run into the side of the house. I have never experienced anything like it in my life. It was a unique and scary sensation.
Richard Purvis, Worcestershire

I received a phone call just after one from my other half in West Bromwich (I live in Croydon) asking what was going on! I didn't feel a thing!
Neil, UK

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23 Sep 02 | UK
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