Kent Earthquake Just Shook the UK Coast at a 4.2 Magnitude

By Gerald Lynch on at

Live on the south eastern coast of England? Have one of those dreams so vivid that it felt as if you were shook awake? Well, you probably weren't dreaming. A substantial earthquake hit the Kent coast line this morning, causing buildings to shake violently.

While reports of minor property damage are still coming in, thankfully no-one has been hurt.

How Strong was the Kent Earthquake?

Striking at around 3am, the British Geological Survey measured the quake at a 4.2 magnitude, making it the strongest earthquake the British Isles have seen since the 4.3 magnitude rumble that occurred in Folkestone back in 2007.

The epicentre has been located as being 1.4 miles out to sea from Ramsgate, with the British Geological Survey already receiving 400 responses to an online "felt reports" survey. Though the tremors were felt most strongly in Ramsgate, reports have come in from concerned citizens as far as 26km away in Folkestone.

According to the British Geological Survey:

Over two thirds of the reports stated that windows rattled and one third reported furniture shaking. Reports described “thought door to hotel was being kicked in, woke up alarmed”, “woke the whole household and neighbours with a bang that lasted 1-2 seconds”, “walls of house creaked, sounded like heavy object rolling over roof of the house”, “noise and the whole building just shaking the road made a weird loud noise too”, “banging of window shutters first, then rumbling noise faintly but shutter banging became louder, then four poster bed hangings were swaying and whole room seemed to be moving” and “I was lying in my bed watching something with my headphones on when I felt the bed shake.”

kent earthquake
Image captured from seismic monitoring station at Elham (ELSH)

How Often is the UK Hit by Earthquakes?

Though it's been some time since the UK has experienced a tremor as strong as this morning's Kent earthquake, the reality is that the UK is struck by quakes of roughly similar strength every two years or so. Annually, the global tally for earthquakes in the region of 4.2 magnitude stands at around 4,500.

To put today's shake in perspective, the recent earthquake that devastated Nepal has been variously measured between 7.8 and 8.1 magnitude.