Earthquake sparked by Eden Project's geothermal testing 'shakes homes' in Cornwall

A "small seismic event" was felt in Cornwall as a result of geothermal testing at the Eden Project

People living in a Cornish town were left shaken after geothermal testing at the Eden Project caused an earthquake.

Tremors were felt near the project’s site in St Austell around 9.20pm on Wednesday 9 March.

No major damage has been reported but the 1.6 magnitude quake did cause homes to shake up to three miles away.

Eden Geothermal, the company in charge of the testing, said all operations had been halted pending an investigation.

‘It was crazy’

Kayleigh Murphy, who lives less than five miles from Eden, said it shook her house and bed.

“It was crazy,” she said. “Never felt anything like it. We were all very scared it could’ve been something worse.

“I have no idea what it was and why they did it without warning us.”

Bernadette Marsh, who runs a retirement home for horses at Castledore, compared the earthquake to Concorde flying over.

“I had just come back indoors, settled on my sofa when I heard the top half of the house rattle,” she said.

“[It was the] same sound as Concorde back in the day. It wasn't until later that evening, I read it was an earthquake.

“There are a lot of concerned people on social media, I hope their questions will be answered.”

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Eden Geothermal confirmed the explosion and earth tremor happened as a result of its water trials.

The pioneering geothermal heat and power project was first announced in late 2020 and a 450-tonne, 55 metre-high drilling rig arrived on the outer edge of the Eden Project site near St Austell last May.

The company has apologised for the disturbance.

Eden Project co-founder Sir Tim Smit has previously described the drilling as the "holy grail" of renewable energy.

“We are aware that a small seismic event was felt and heard in the vicinity of the Eden Geothermal site shortly after 9.20pm this evening,” the firm said in a statement.

“An investigation and analysis of seismic monitoring data have confirmed that the event was linked to testing operations at Eden Geothermal. 

“No damage has been reported, and the event was within regulatory limits, but in order to minimise the likelihood of further disturbance, we have halted operations while additional mitigation controls are put in place.

“We apologise for any disturbance that has been caused.”