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Eyewitness John Mitchell
"All the secondary glazing shook quite violently"
 real 28k

Eyewitness Penny Bould
"I am still shaking"
 real 28k

Bennett Simpson, British Geological Survey
"The largest in ten years"
 real 28k

Saturday, 23 September, 2000, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
Tremor rocks the Midlands
The tremor was felt across the Midlands
The tremor was felt across the Midlands
The largest earthquake to hit Britain for more than 10 years has rocked the Midlands.

It was one of the most terrifying experiences I have had in my life and I'm still shaking

Former BBC journalist Penny Bould
The tremor, which came just after 0530 BST, was felt across the whole of south Warwickshire, stretching as far as Birmingham, Banbury and Northamptonshire.

It caused little structural damage, but the police were inundated with calls from the public who were woken up by the quake.

Former BBC journalist Penny Bould was on the phone to a friend at the time the tremor struck. "It was one of the most terrifying experiences I have had in my life and I'm still shaking.

'Extremely large'

"The whole side of my house shook violently. I have not been outside yet because I am so scared."

Another who experienced the full force of the quake was John Mitchell, 71, who was reading at his home in the village of Thurlaston, near Rugby, in Warwickshire.

"It was quite frightening. I never felt anything like it in my life before. The chair seemed to rock and the floor seemed to come up a bit. The secondary double-glazing also rattled."

The quake measured 4.2 on the Richter Scale, the strongest since a tremor measuring 5.1 was measured in Shropshire in April 1990. It lasted between three and four seconds.

Seismologist Glenn Ford, of the Edinburgh-based British Geological Survey, said the quake was "extremely large" by British standards.

'Windows rattle'

"Statistically we are looking at one quake of this size every three years in Britain.

"Quakes of this size wake people up and cause houses to shake and people will have heard their doors and windows rattle, but the only structural damage would be something minor like plaster cracks."

However, he stressed that the earthquake was a fraction of one per cent as strong as that which struck Turkey in August last year, which killed 17,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

The BGS is appealing to members of the public who felt the tremor to report what they experienced via the survey's website.

Six thousand earthquakes measuring more than 4.0 on the Richter Scale occur in the world every year.

The largest earthquake in Britain was in 1931 off the Dogger Bank, in the North Sea, which measured 6.0 on the Richter scale.

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