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Second earthquake in a week ‘not normal for Surrey’

Handout illustration issued by the British Geological Survey (BGS) of the seismogram from Surrey’s second earthquake in a week (BGS/PA) Photo: Press Association Images

Earthquakes are hitting Surrey for the first time in 40 years, according to scientists.

The county has been hit by tremors twice in a week with the latest taking place at a magnitude of 2.4 at 6.54am (BST) in Newdigate on Friday, hitting a depth of three miles (5km), the British Geological Survey (BGS) said.

It took place in the same area as a 2.6 magnitude tremor at 1.30pm (BST) on Wednesday which caused “a few seconds of rumbling and shaking”.

This followed one on a similar scale in April.

BGS seismologist Richard Luckett told Press Association there is a “constant stream” of small earthquakes over most parts of the UK on a regular basis, adding: “There’s no reason why Surrey should be any different.

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“But what’s unusual is it is not at all normal for Surrey. There hasn’t been a quake there for around 40 years.

“It’s been particularly quiet.”

There were reports of “a loud bang” for about two seconds which caused a house to shake “like a truck had crashed into it”, BGS said.

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Classic car parts owner Roy McNeill and his wife Judy, from nearby Beare Green, said they felt the effects at around 7am.

He said: “We were having a coffee and the patio windows had a gentle rattle, then the wall and the bed shuddered for a second or so, then stopped.

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“We both looked at each other and said ‘Was that a little earthquake?’ It certainly felt like one.”

A resident in the nearby village of Charlwood, which also felt the effects earlier in the week, added: “(It was) a noise and vibration that felt like someone was upstairs in the bedroom, jumping around.

“It was almost like a door being caught in the wind and slamming.”

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Mr Luckett said the South East’s current heat wave is not a factor, adding: “It is definitely nothing to do with the weather.”

Campaigners raised concerns fracking was the cause, claiming company UK Gas and Oil (Ukog) started flow testing at a site in Horse Hill, Horley, which as around five miles from where the earthquake was registered.

Mr Luckett said: “It is certainly plausible as fracking can cause earthquakes.

“But I checked with the Oil and Gas Authority and no fracking has taken place.”

The Oil and Gas Authority said it is aware Ukog made an announcement about flow testing and equipment is on site but understands it had not taken place at the time of the earthquake. No fracking has taken place in the area, an authority spokeswoman said.