King Edward's School BATH

A guide to ..... earthquakes in Bath

A guide to ..... earthquakes in Bath

19 February 2018

The earthquake, felt by many in the Bath area on Saturday, 17 February, was the largest earthquake in the UK since the Market Rasen earthquake ten years earlier in 2008.  Whilst people were surprised by the local tremor, this sort of magnitude actually has a recurrence interval of approximately once every 4 years across mainland Britain (the last one being in the Bristol channel in 2014, magnitude 4.2).

The map below shows the location of the epicentre on Saturday:

Whilst this map shows the areas in which the seismic waves were felt.

Both maps courtesy of the British Geological Survey Earthquake Seismology Team (

The focus of the earthquake on Saturday was only 7 km deep and there have been 6 much smaller earthquakes emanating from the same location since the ‘big one’ on Saturday.  It's believed that as many as 10 million people might have been affected by the earthquake! 

The earthquake was caused by movement of the Earth’s crust along a fault line that is about 7 kms beneath the Earth’s surface.  Such fault lines are relative weaknesses in the Earth’s crust and allow earthquakes to occur well away from typical locations along plate boundaries.

Young Geographers from schools across Bristol and Bath may expect a question or two about the local earthquake when they take part in the Bath-Bristol Final of the Geographical Association’s Worldwise Quiz on 20 March, hosted here at King Edward’s School. The Quiz provides an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate their geographical knowledge, understanding and skills, especially in relation to current events and matters of global and local significance



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