22 September 2020

Leighton Buzzard hit by third earthquake in two weeks

22 September 2020

Leighton Buzzard has been hit by an earthquake for the third time in two weeks.

The magnitude three tremor hit the Bedfordshire town at 8.32 on Tuesday morning, the British Geological Survey confirmed.

It was a second aftershock following the initial event on September 8, which was a magnitude 3.5 event.

Glenn Ford, a seismologist with the BGS, told the PA news agency: “What we’re seeing here is a small aftershock from that earthquake.”

The first aftershock, which was measured by the BGS at magnitude 2.1, hit on September 14.

While earthquakes have not occurred frequently in the area in the past, Mr Ford said the activity was “typical behaviour” which had been seen in different areas of the UK “on many occasions”.

He added: “There’s obviously been some stress been building up in that particular area and we’ve had the initial earthquake.

“It’s maybe just still rebalancing the stress regime in that particular part of the world and we’re getting these little aftershocks occurring as well.”

Sheila O’Connell, an NHS worker who lives in Leighton Buzzard, said Tuesday’s quake felt similar to the event two weeks ago.

“It was a bang and it was a shake, a real shake,” she told PA. “I felt the building shake.

“It was almost the same as the first one.

“My instinct was, ‘Is that another earthquake? What is going on in Leighton Buzzard?'”

She said she did not feel unsafe, but added: “If they carry on it might well come to that.”

Jo Reggelt, who lives in nearby Bletchley, said it was similar to the September 8 quake “but on a lesser scale”.

“The conservatory rattled again, there was that sort of muffled sound of a gas explosion,” he told PA.

Mr Reggelt, who works in the railway industry, gave no credence to suggestions by some residents that the tremors could be linked to nearby work on the HS2 rail project.

“From my experience, no, it’s got nothing to do with the railway,” he said.

Mr Ford suggested residents should be prepared for potential further aftershocks.

He said: “It probably will settle down soon but could we get another one?

“We certainly could, but when it could happen, we don’t know.”

A BGS tweet about Tuesday’s quake read: “We’re receiving reports about the earthquake, which followed previous events in the same area on 8 & 13 Sept, with magnitudes 3.5 & 2.1.

“Reports describe ‘only lasted a couple of seconds’ & ‘just felt a single jolt, a bit like being in a car that has done an emergency stop!’”

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