(not so) Great Earthquakes
of our times
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Britain is not noted for its earthquakes, but we do get several hundred every year. Luckily, very few of them are strong enough to be noticed.
   Here are reports on the ones strong enough to be noticed in Romiley within living memory.


The Daily Mail called it the Quake of the Century, which turned out to be right but premature.

A witness recorded: "I was in bed when the earthquake started at 07:58 hours. I felt a rapid but not violent shaking of the bed. I heard a creaking noise coming not from the bed but from a set of free-standing, steel-framed shelves containing around 700 paperback books.

"The earthquake woke me up and lasted 10-15 seconds. The local intensity was about strength III on the Modified Mercalli Scale.

"My mother, who was downstairs, saw a set of Encyclopaedia Britannica (oriented east-west) rippling in the lower part of a bookcase and heard the doors of a storage unit above it rattling as if a heavy lorry had driven past."


The Second Great Romiley Earthquake struck at 14:47½ hours on a Monday afternoon. A writer noticed that his typing chair was shaking. He thought it was him at first, then the shaking became more violent and rattled the whole house. Strength 3-4 on the Modified Mercalli scale, duration about 20 seconds. The epicentre of the R5.1 quake was Wrexham, 50 miles away.


A witness reported: "I was watching American Football at the beginning of the afternoon (12:42) when we had not one but two small earthquakes in quick succession. The main shock lasted 10-15 seconds. A 5-second minor shock followed on about half a minute later.

"Lunchtime soup pans slid a couple of inches on the gas stove and off their position directly above the burner - but no reports were received of pans plunging to the ground with great loss of nutritional contents. In addition, a computer operator reported a feeling that her gas-lift typing chair was about to collapse.

"The motion of the main shock of this earthquake was a gentle side-to-side movement. A number of other Romiley residents, including survivors of the 1984 earthquake, failed to realize that they had just survived another one."


American football fans were enjoying the Monday night match between the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Channel 5 early on Tuesday morning when another mild earthquake lasting about five seconds struck at 04:39 hours.

"It rattled the doors of the serving hatch between the kitchen and the living room and made the settee sway a bit," one stop-up American Crunch fan reported.

Question: is there a correlation between earthquakes and American football on the telly?


A witness recalled: "Having gone to bed at about 00:30, I was still waiting to go to sleep when the bed started shaking at 00:58½. Was it a heavy lorry going past? No, it went on for too long, lasting about 10 seconds.

"It woke my father up and he was worried about being shaken out of bed. My mother slept through it, as did a surprising number of people. Another surprising thing was the number of people interviewed on TV who said they were up and about at one o'clock in the morning and available to be disturbed by an earthquake.

"Fortunately, this one lasted long enough for people to realize what was happening but not long enough to be alarming."

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