Friday, 18 January 2013

Todays Loughborough earthquake & the role of citizen science

Loughborough Earthquake


Location of the Loughborough EQ this morning

Our seismologists have been busy analysing data from our monitoring stations located around the UK following the 2.9ML earthquake in Leicestershire this morning. Preliminary data was published on the BGS Earthquakes website which triggered an automatic alert on the main BGS homepage, facebook and twitter. The analysts then had a few minutes to respond to the many media requests that have come in from TV, radio and newspapers.

Seismogram for Loughborough EQ
Following this it was back to the grind and the analysts began interrogating the various channels of data from monitoring stations, investigating the historic earthquake records for past ones in the same area, reading reports from the public that are coming in following the media coverage.

Glenn Ford (top) and Davie Galloway (bottom) analysing seismic data from 
the New Ollerton earthquake last week

 

The important role you play


There's an online BGS questionnaire that you can fill in if you've felt an earthquake. This contribution is vitally important as it allows our analysts to assign a value of Intensity to the earthquake. In the case of todays Leicestershire earthquake over 160 'citizen scientists' have already kindly taken the time to answer the questionnaire, enabling our analysts to identify it as Intensity 4.

The earthquakes website says this about Intensity " ....assigning an intensity requires a sample of the felt responses of the population. This is then graded according to the EMS intensity scale. For example, Intensity 1, Not felt, 2, Scarcely perceptible, 3, weak, felt by a few, up to 12 assigned for total devastation. Study of intensity and the production of isoseismal maps, contouring areas of equal intensity, is particularly important for the study of earthquakes which occurred prior to instrumental monitoring."
Map showing location of Loughborough EQ and of those 'felt reports' from the online questionnaire
Most felt reports lie within a 25 km radius of the epicentre. Furthest report received from Matlock, 42 km to NW
The seismology team is very grateful for everyone who completes the online questionnaire as it really does help the study of earthquakes. So if you did feel this earthquake and you want to help then do a bit of citizen science then fill out the questionnaire here.

 

UK Earthquakes

Between 200 and 300 earthquakes are detected and located in the UK, by the British Geological Survey annually. Whilst the magnitude 2.9 Loughborough earthquake is regarded as an insignificant event by world standards (because of it's rarity, occurring around only 4 times a year) it does attracts public attention.
Earthquakes of such minor magnitude don't cause any damage but can make house shudder slightly and wake the occupants. Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Earthquake Questions .


Lauren (your friendly neighbourhood Press Officer)
Edinburgh

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