Thousands of visitors are flocking to catch a glimpse of the rare and beautiful Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis in Donegal but early on Thursday morning the county had another encounter with Mother Nature in the form of an earthquake.
According to the British Geological Survey (BGS), the rumblings of a 2.2 earthquake were reported in the northern part of the county. The earthquake took place just after 1am and was recorded at a depth of three kilometers, on the Fanad peninsula.
Assistant seismologist with the BGS, Julian Bukits, said the window frames shook and some people were woken up.
She told the Irish Independent “It happens naturally in the north of Ireland but not as often, say, as northern Scotland or the south of Wales. No one can really explain it for Ireland, it's just a geological phenomenon."
Bukits said a similar sized earthquake was felt in County Clare in May 2010.
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Donegal is also still receiving massive amounts of visitors this week due to the Northern Lights. The Lights were visible on 22nd January but are expected again this week.
The light show, illuminating the sky with bursts of color, is caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere. (See the video below)
Kieran Henderson, from the Inishowen Tourism office, told IrishCentral, “Inishowen have been experiencing huge volumes of traffic over the last couple of days. Carparks are overflowing, roads are busy, the tourist season has kicked off early ... and all after dark ... with hopes of seeing some of the sights of the Aurora Borealis”
He told IrishCentral that Ireland’s Automobile Association (AA) has issued a warning to drivers in the area.
Their statement read “Drivers are being warned to be careful if coming to view the Northern Lights in Inishowen this weekend. We would advise motorists to take care when coming to view the Northern Lights, although it is tempting to monitor the sky, please keep your eyes on the road at all times until you have reached viewing points in Malin Head, Ballyliffin or Shrove.”
As if an earthquake and the Northern Lights wasn’t enough for one county to contend with, they also had a big lottery winner on Wednesday. One lucky punter walked away with €5.4 million ($7 million). There must be something in the air.
Here’s the RTE reports on the Northern Lights: