Earthquake news: Swarm of tremors rock Surrey – but what is to blame?

Earthquakes are common in many parts of the world, but they are rare on the British isles as the uK is not situated near to the edge of a tectonic plate. However, there has been a drastic upturn in the amount of quakes in the past year in Surrey – with many people blaming fracking for the increased seismic activity. The latest quake was a magnitude 2.5, which hit Newdigate near Gatwick on May 4, according to the British Geological Survey (BGS).

A spokeswoman for the BGS said: “Around 100 reports from members of the public in the epicentral area have been received so far and many others have taken to social media to report their experience.

“Typical reports described ‘windows and doors shook’, ‘felt like some sort of explosion’ and ‘a loud bang woke me up’.”

The sudden uptake in quakes is a mystery, but some believe it is down to fracking.

Oil companies have been searching for fossil fuels beneath the surface of a spate of locations in Surrey over the past two years, but the researchers have said that the potential dangers were not properly explored.

A study from the University College London and Edinburgh University last year read: “The abrupt onset of the earthquake cluster recorded by the British Geological Survey [BGS] at Newdigate since April 1 requires an explanation, and gives rise to our concerns about safety.

“Oil drilling, extraction and re-injection can cause earthquakes.

“There are two oil sites in the immediate area: Horse Hill and Brockham. A causal link with either well site cannot be ruled out, so we need the full picture for the risk assessment.”

However, other scientists believe it is a more natural phenomenon.

Stephen Hicks, seismologist at Imperial College London, said: “It is most likely that these earthquakes are natural – due to small tectonic stresses occurring on old geological faults caused by stresses from our nearest plate boundaries in the Mid-Atlantic and Mediterranean.”