Quakes ‘are an issue for London’


The earthquake hazard to London has been under-appreciated, say scientists at the British Geological Survey.

They have looked at the history of tremors in the UK and have come to the conclusion that the vulnerability of its capital is far greater than many people recognise.

The South East of England is unlikely to be hit by the type of devastating event seen elsewhere in the world, but planners still need to prepare for quakes that will produce damaging shaking, the researchers argue.

They made their remarks at the British Science Festival, which is hosted this year at Aston University in Birmingham.

The biggest UK quake on record occurred out in the North Sea, off the Yorkshire coast, in 1931.

The Magnitude 6.1 event shook the eastern side of England all the way down to London, where the waxwork head of the infamous murderer Dr Crippen in Madam Tussauds was reported to have tumbled to the floor.

A quake of Magnitude 5 or bigger will occur every 100 years or so in Britain.
St Peter’s in Broadstairs (BGS) St Peter’s Church in Broadstairs was damaged in 1580

In April 1580, a tremor centred on the Dover Strait damaged large numbers of buildings in London and killed two people.

Even though the Dover Strait is some distance from the capital, the city’s clay soils have a tendency to amplify any shaking.

A similar earthquake is almost certain to happen again sometime in the future. Scientists say they can be fairly sure about that because the earthquake of 1580 was itself a repeat of a previous tremor that occurred in 1382 with almost the same epicentre, size and effects.

“In the years since 1580 the exposure of society to earthquakes has increased enormously,” explained Dr Roger Musson.

“The same earthquake happening tomorrow will impact far more people than was the case in the 16th Century.

“The size of London in terms of population is about 50 times more today than it was then. So if two people were killed in London in 1580, you can imagine for yourself what sort of scaling up that could mean for a contemporary earthquake of the same size.”

No-one is suggesting London’s authorities instigate the kind of earthquake disaster planning seen in cities like Tokyo or San Francisco; and the UK capital’s modern skyscrapers should easily handle a Magnitude 5.5 quake.
Earthquake rehearsal in the UK (AFP) Emergency drills that practise the response to earthquakes do take place in the UK

But the researchers believe the condition of some of London’s oldest buildings should be reviewed.

“If you go round the streets of London today and just look up at the roofline, you will probably see a lot of weak, old ornaments and chimneys that it is surprising didn’t come down in the last gale,” said Dr Musson

“Those are the things that are most likely to be damaged. It may not sound very dramatic compared to buildings collapsing, but if you are walking in the street and a chimney falls on you – that’s bad news.”

This year, scientists across Europe completed the Archive of Historical Earthquake Data. This is a database that details all the recorded major tremors across the continent. It is aimed at planners, politicians, insurers – or just anybody interested in earthquake risk.

“With this resource, it is possible for people to look and see what has gone before in the past and therefore understand what sort of earthquake scenarios are to be expected at sometime in the future,” said Dr Musson.
[Story Source] [Contest win Rs 1000-100,000 now]

This post was submitted by Chinmaya Nayak.

Related Posts
Licences for oil and gas cut back to protect wildlife

Licences for oil and gas cut back to protect wildlife

Licensing of oil and gas exploration in UK waters has been cut back by the UK government in its bid to ensure protection of marine wildlife.The 26th round of offshore licensing, since it began in the ...
Wind turbine giant Vestas cuts 3,000 jobs

Wind turbine giant Vestas cuts 3,000 jobs

Vestas, the world's largest wind turbine maker, has announced plans to cut 3,000 jobs because of weak demand, around 15% of its global workforce.The Danish company also reported net profits of 126m eu...
UK net is ‘not ready’ for future

UK net is ‘not ready’ for future

The UK is slowly climbing up the broadband world rankings, but is still not "ready for tomorrow," according to a global study of net services.The annual report, commissioned by network giant Cisco, lo...
UK guidance on torture challenged by watchdog

UK guidance on torture challenged by watchdog

New guidance for UK intelligence staff on how to deal with suspects facing torture overseas may breach human rights law, a watchdog has warned.As a result officers may wrongly believe they were "prote...
Seagulls ‘may be spreading superbugs’

Seagulls ‘may be spreading superbugs’

Scientists fear migratory birds may be spreading hard-to-treat infections after discovering seagulls can carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria.Portuguese researchers analysed 57 samples of droppings fro...
Telescope goes after first stars

Telescope goes after first stars

The UK has officially opened its first station in a new international radio astronomy antenna network.Lofar (Low Frequency Array) is a European project that incorporates new digital techniques to surv...

Leave a Reply

We will keep You Updated...
Get Free Email Newsletter from VoteUpIndia Sign up for our free email newsletter. (Help?)
Read latest headlines in your favorite news reader
Follow VoteUpIndia  on Twitter Become a VoteUpIndia Fan on Facebook Subscribe to VoteUpIndia in Google Reader Add VoteUpIndia  to My Yahoo Add VoteUpIndia  to Netvibes Subscribe to Free Techie Buzz RSS Feed
Sponsored Links
Featured Video
Best Storytellers
Powered by Authors Widget
Recent Posts

McDonald's Suspends Employee, Probes Child's Eviction From Pune Outlet

PUNE: After reports emerged that an eight-year-old destitute child was thrown out of an outlet of...

Why Arjun Made a Humble Request to Cast Sonakshi in Tevar

It's all about wearing your Tevar, this new year. Arjun Kapoor looked dapper at the initial promotions...

5 things Modi needs to do ASAP, after Bihar loss

It's not correct to transpose the outcome from a state election as a referendum on the central government,...

Sehwag's half century in All Star tournament.

The first match has been really special. We thoroughly enjoyed being here. New York, you were brilliant....

Bihar Defeat May Lead to Silent Rebellion in BJP Against PM, Amit Shah: Arun Shourie to NDTV

NEW DELHI: In the aftermath of the BJP's debacle in Bihar, Arun Shourie, one time admirer of Narendra...

Court Refuses to Stop Gillette Razor Ad Starring Deepika Padukone

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has refused to stop a Gillette razor advertisement starring Deepika...

Bigg Boss 9: Roopal Tyagi voted out of the house

TV actor Roopal Tyagi was evicted from reality show Bigg Boss on Sunday’s episode. Roopal is the...
Recent Comments
How i can submit my story...? and where i can see the staus of votes for this?
IFFI lose its art value,so it became lose it commercial value
Dear sir I am sending an article which is based on true story and needs your help to lime light such incidents which never come in
Thanks for the interesting article. Great Post. Keep it up
It is indeed heartening to learn that LSE, the world leader in higher education, will join hands with the most admired Reliance Foun
Tag Cloud