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Monday, 29 October, 2001, 10:03 GMT
Earthquake shakes East Midlands
Melton Mowbray
The tremor was centred five miles from Melton Mowbray
Buildings across the East Midlands have been damaged by an earthquake.

The events prompted scores of emergency calls, as people believed there had been an explosion.

The British Geological Survey confirmed on Sunday night an earthquake measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale had struck the region.

There were reports of tremors across at least four counties.

Chimney collapse

The earthquake was centred five miles north of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.

Teresa Christian, whose chimney stack collapsed during the quake, said she initially feared that a plane had crashed into her street.

The 36-year-old postal worker from Melton Mowbray said: "Everything was shaking. I heard the stack fall but I didn't know what was happening.

"At first I thought a plane had crashed or a lorry had run into a house along the road."

No injuries

Two other buildings in Coalville and Burbage, in Leicestershire, had also been damaged, a spokesman said.

No reports of injuries have been received, although hundreds of people rang police, wrongly believing the tremor to be an explosion.

Alan Duncan, MP for Rutland and Melton Mowbray, said: "Everything shook and I thought 'Crikey, my boiler's exploded' and even went to check it only to find it wasn't even on.

"I am sorry to hear it caused some damage but glad that something like this didn't cause even more."

Bigger tremor

People in Derby felt the tremors and there were 999 calls in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire as well as Leicestershire.

Julian Bukits, a BGS assistant seismologist based in Edinburgh, said the quake struck at 1625 GMT.

Mr Bukits said the tremor was considerably smaller than an earthquake, centred on Warwick, which rocked the West Midlands on 23 September, 2000.

There was an earthquake, measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale, in Devon and Cornwall on 1 June, 2001.

Britain has been hit by a similar quake once every two years on average, Mr Bukits said.

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