Earthquake shakes parts of Scottish Highlands

The commando memorial in Spean Bridge, where tremors were felt. Picture: Ian RutherfordThe commando memorial in Spean Bridge, where tremors were felt. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The commando memorial in Spean Bridge, where tremors were felt. Picture: Ian Rutherford
An earthquake with a 2.9 magnitude shook parts of the Highlands last night.

The epicentre was recorded around 10 km west of Fort William at 7.36pm.

The tremors were felt in a number of areas, including Glenfinnan, Glencoe, Spean Bridge and Oban.

The British Geological Survey said it had a depth of 5 km.

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A spokesman said: “The earthquake was located approximately 3 km east of a magnitude 3 earthquake that occurred on 10 December 2005.

“Almost 200 felt reports from an automatic online questionnaire survey have been received from members of the public, almost all of them coming from within a 20 km radius of the epicentre, in particular from the relatively more densely populated areas of Fort William, Spean Bridge, Kinlochleven, Ballachullish and the hamlets on the eastern shore of Loch Lihnne.

“Further afield, reports have been received from Loch Nevis area (35 km to NW of epicentre), Acharacle (35 km to W of epicentre), Lochaline (45 km to SW of epicentre), the Isle of Lismore 34 km to WSW of epicentre), and just south of Oban (63 km S of epicentre).”

He added: “Most people described the shaking strength of the earthquake to be moderate, with a trembling effect, and described the sound strength as moderate to loud. Many reports stated that windows rattled.

“Reports described “one second loud rumble followed by sound like thunder and crockery on welsh dresser rattled”, “rumble approaching, then impact felt, then rumble going away”, “sounded like an explosion.

“Brief shake of building such as caused by quarry blasting”, “vibration on floor with audible rumble which got progressively louder”, “the floor shook so much and you could hear the house rattle and an shake around us” and “it felt like a big explosion underneath the property which seemed to lift and drop it.”

Local councillor Andrew Baxter said: “I was sitting in a community council meeting in Nether Lochaber when we heard a low grumbling rumble.

“We weren’t sure whether it was a large lorry going past or or a clap of thunder. But I think everyone came to the conclusion, once we had a quick look outside, that it was an earth tremor.

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“I wouldn’t say it was frightening, it was confusing more than anything, just trying to work what it actually was.

“But I was in quite a rickety old village hall and it certainly shook that for the few seconds it lasted. “

People on social media reported feeling the affects of the earthquake. One user said they felt a “huge bang” and their house shook. Another said they felt the “ground shuddering” under their feet.

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