Britain is not renowned for earthquakes, and so the Dudley Earthquake measuring 5.0 on the richter scale, despite being totally insignificant on a global scale, was quite a notable event for much of the population of England and Wales. It struck in the early hours of the morning on September 23, 2002.
Events of a similar magnitude in the same area occurred in 1926 near Ludlow, rated 4.8 and in 1916 near Stafford rated 4.6. Strangely, it was also two years to the day that a smaller, but still significant quake hit just thirty miles east-south-east of Dudley.
With an epicentre of 52.52° north, 2.15° west
in Gornal in the Black Country, the quake hit at 00:53 BST. The event occured around 9.7km underground. This area is no stranger to geological problems, as demonstrated by The Crooked House, just 1km away.
One or two tremors were felt for around ten to thirty seconds as far afield as Wales, North Yorkshire, London and Wiltshire - with the number of reports decreasing with distance from the centre. Many people were woken from their sleep, thinking there had been an explosion. Although some structural damage occured, no casualties were reported.
A single aftershock was measured at 04:32 BST. Measuring 2.7 on the richter scale, the shock originated from much the same location but slightly nearer the surface at a depth of 9.3km.
Thanks to wertperch for pointing out the quake two years ago.