Shock as third earthquake hits Gatwick region within days

Three earthquakes have hit the area since February 14. Photo: British Geological Survey  SUS-190214-115518001
Three earthquakes have hit the area since February 14. Photo: British Geological Survey SUS-190214-115518001

A third earthquake hit an area around Gatwick yesterday leaving residents startled as houses shook.

The first tremor struck on February 14 when people reported ‘everything moving forwards and backwards’ in areas ranging around Dorking, Gatwick, Crawley, Horley, Burstow and Smallfield at around 7.43am.

Minutes later a second tremor was recorded in the same area, according to the British Geological Survey which monitors earthquakes around the world.

Yesterday, a third earthquake measuring a magnitude of 1.9 was recorded in the region just after 5pm. The initial quake on February 14 was stronger, measuring 2.4.

The trio of quakes follow seven recorded in the same area over a four-month period last year - the first ever earthquakes recorded in this part of Britain. Some people in the Horsham area also reported feeling the tremors.

When the first of this year’s quakes hit this week, a spokesman for the British Geological Survey said: “The BGS have received several reports, mainly from the RH5 and RH6 postcode areas, Surrey and a few from Crawley, West Sussex, of this event being felt.

“Typical reports described ‘furniture shook very gently’, ‘everything moved forwards then backwards’, ‘a loud bang and strong impact and shake as though something had fallen on the house’ and ‘general rumble that lasted for a couple of seconds’.”

The quakes have prompted a call for action from south east MEP Keith Taylor. He says a new scientific study from the University of Edinburgh suggests that there may be a connection between the earthquakes and oil drilling at Horse Hill, north of Gatwick.

However, last year the British Geological Survey installed earthquake sensors in the area and says that analysis showed that ‘the events are unlikely to have been induced.’