1884 Colchester earthquake

1884 Colchester earthquake

The earthquake known as the Colchester Earthquake occurred on April 22 1884, and caused considerable damage in Colchester and the surrounding villages in Essex, England. It is also known as the Great English Earthquake [http://www.stosyth.gov.uk/default.asp?calltype=apr04earthquake.St. Osyth Parish Council] ] . In terms of overall destruction caused it is certainly the most destructive earthquake to have hit the United Kingdom in at least the last 400 years.

At 9:18am the earthquake struck with its epicentre in the vicinity of the village of Wivenhoe causing the surrounding area to rise and fall violently as the waves spread, lasting for around 20 seconds. The effects were felt across England, as well as in northern France and Belgium.

In total the earthquake damaged around 1200 buildings including almost every building in Wivenhoe and Abberton, and in settlements all the way to Ipswich. The medieval church in Langenhoe was significantly damaged, as were those in the villages of Layer-de-la-Haye, Layer-Marney, and Layer Breton: Peldon also suffered damage.

There are some reports that between 3 and 5 people were killed by the earthquake, but this has been disputed by other contemporary accounts. "The Times" reported damage "in the many villages in the neighbourhood from Colchester to the sea coast", with many poor people made homeless, and estimated the cost of the disaster at 10,000 pounds. It did however mention the death of a child at Rowhedge, attributed to the earthquake.

It is believed that the earthquake resulted from movement along a fault in the ancient Palaeozoic rocks that underpin most of Essex, causing waves to propagate through the overlying Cretaceous and Tertiary layers.

As is often the case, it is not always the strongest earthquakes that cause the most damage, and the British Geological Survey estimates that the 1884 earthquake's magnitude was only around 4.7 on the Richter Scale, compared with 6.1 of the 1931 Dogger Bank earthquake.

External links

* [http://www.foxearth.org.uk/blog/2004/12/great-colchester-earthquake.html The Great Colchester Earthquake]



* The Great English Earthquake, by Peter Haining, Publisher: R. Hale, London Date Published: 1976 London Date Published: 1976 ISBN 0-7091-5395-3

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