An earthquake measuring 2.8 on the Richter scale was recorded in the Irish Sea on Tuesday night, close to where a magnitude 3.8 earthquake struck on the morning of 29th May 2013.
Experts believe an increase in seismic activity in the region means there may be further earthquakes in the Irish sea area in the future.
The Irish National Seismic Network (INSN), which monitors seismic activity in the region, said the earthquake occurred at a depth of 12 Km at 11:28 pm (GMT) on Wednesday, June 26th. The epicentre was located approximately 2 km off the coast off the Llŷn Peninsula (Wales) and 97 km southeast of Dublin (Ireland).
The event was followed by two aftershocks, approximately 30 seconds (ML2.4) and 2 minutes 30 seconds (ML1.2), respectively, after the main event.
“This earthquake, which would be considered relatively minor on the Richter scale, was located approximately 0.5 Km south of the magnitude 3.8 event which occurred last month,” explained Dr. Yochai Ben-Horin of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), which operates the INSN.
He continued: “The earthquake was felt throughout North Wales, including Holyhead, Bangor, Menai Bridge, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Bodorgan, Pwllheli and Caernarfon. We have not yet received any felt reports from people living on Ireland’s east coast but the quake was recorded by our network of seismic stations throughout Ireland."
Dr. Ben-Horin explained that there has been an increase in seismic activity in the area in recent months and further minor earthquakes are likely. However, he indicated there was no way of indication at present that a larger earthquake is likely to occur.
He stated: “This latest earthquake could represent the continuation of a natural cycle of seismic activity that began on 7 February when a magnitude 2.3 earthquake struck the area. This was followed by the magnitude 3.8 quake on May 29th and a series of smaller earthquakes a couple of days later. It is unclear whether stronger earthquakes are likely in the coming weeks but aftershocks can be expected in the hours and days ahead, although many will be too weak to be felt.”
“We would ask people in Ireland or Wales who may have felt this morning’s earthquake to submit felt reports to us online at www.dias.ie,” Dr. Ben-Horin added.
The recent Irish Sea earthquakes have been recorded approximately 15 km west of the magnitude 5.4 earthquake that occurred on the Llŷn peninsula on 19 July 1984. The latter quake was the largest ever recorded earthquake on mainland Britain and was felt throughout Ireland's east coast, Wales and England. Aftershocks from the quake measured up to 4.3 on the Richter scale and some structural damage resulted along the east coast of Ireland.
A magnitude 2.7 earthquake was recorded off the northwest coast of Ireland on November 21st 2012. On June 6th 2012, a magnitude 4.0 earthquake was recorded off the coast of County Mayo, close to the Corrib gas field. The quake happened at 9am, 60km west of Aughleam near Belmullet. The most significant land earthquake to be recorded in Ireland in recent years occurred when a 2.7 quake hit Lisdoonvarna in County Clare in May 2010. It also was the first earthquake to be recorded in the west of Ireland in modern times.
The DIAS began modern seismic recordings in 1978. The Irish National Seismic Network (INSN) now features six permanent stations. 2013 marks 20 years since the beginning of digital seismic recording of the INSN. For more see www.dias.ie.