What happened to Scotland in November’s 7.2 earthquake?

Written by by S Trenholm, CNN EMEA Headquarters, Sweden

On Friday, November 17, at around 10.30pm, a severe earthquake struck southeast of Edinburgh in Scotland, nearly 3 kilometers below the surface.

Over the next few days, teams of seismologists found faultlines on Thursday, evidence of a monumental earthquake of 7.2, with jolts felt all over Scotland. It was the strongest earthquake to strike Scotland in more than 300 years.

Daniel Richardson from the University of Strathclyde said the earthquake was “unusual” because it felt to people. “This is the first time in 500 years that people have felt a significant earthquake.”

It was also felt across the country, from Glasgow to Killiecrankie, around 150 kilometers southeast of Edinburgh.

“People ran out into the streets of Glasgow to see what had happened, and when they reached higher ground, they felt the shaking from the shaking,” said Dr. Richardson. “I’ve been observing earthquakes for more than 30 years and this is the first time I’ve seen something feel so close and powerful.

People in Glasgow rushed out into the streets following the earthquake. PA Images/PA Wire

“Although the ground is about 100 meters below, that little cluster of pressure is still felt within some distance. It is shocking for a lot of people who are used to living on the surface.”

Hundreds of people rushed out of buildings when the ground shook at 10.30pm. They were forced to run from the house as bricks fell onto the road.

Petra Andersson from Rotheskar on the East of Edinburgh said she felt it shake three times. “Everyone came running outside and we just have no idea what’s going on.”

Petra Andersson from Rotheskar, Edinburgh. EPA/UND ABUDEK

There are still many questions about what caused the quake. It was classified as an “unstable” faultline, but scientists say there is still no technical explanation as to what caused the temblor.

At 8.14pm, the Scottish Geological Survey sent a tweet that they hadn’t had an earthquake since about 600 years ago.

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