Earthquake in Surrey on Easter Sunday is the county's first ever, according to the British Geological Survey

Earthquake in Surrey on Easter Sunday is the county’s first ever, according to the British Geological Survey

An earthquake which left many residents in Mole Valley and near Horley feeling “shakes” and “quivers” is the first ever to be recorded in Surrey.

Hitting a magnitude of 2.7 on the Richter scale with a depth of 5km, the British Geological Survey (BGS) confirmed it is the first to be based in the county, with its epicentre in Newdigate in the Mole Valley.

BGS seismologist David Galloway said it was “rare” for an earthquake to take place in the south-east region.

Many people have been in touch with the BGS, after the organisation received 90 reports of people affected within 25 miles of the epicentre.

It happened at 12.11pm on Easter Sunday (April 1) and was centred around Stan Hill with tremors lasting for up to five minutes.

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Mr Galloway said: “We get 250 earthquakes a year in the UK so it’s not uncommon but it’s extremely rare to get one in Surrey.

“Only 20% of all earthquakes in the country are felt but most have their epicentre in north west Scotland or the Welsh borders but never in Surrey.

“We started getting a lot of reports from the RH5 and RH6 postcode areas, mostly stating that their whole house was shaking or the windows rattling. Some people posted to us they heard something exploding which they thought was from Gatwick Airport until they realised it had been an earthquake.

“The level of this earthquake is enough to make things shake or rattle but not to cause windows to break or houses to crack, if some people are worried.

“It would have been felt 25 miles away.”

The earthquake tremor was centred around Stan Hill near Newdigate, according to the British Geological Society
The earthquake tremor was centred around Stan Hill near Newdigate, according to the British Geological Society

While people in Surrey may have felt the effects of earthquakes from other parts of the country before, the earthquake is the first the BGS has recorded to be centred on the county, since records began in 1750.

The earthquake in the North Downs on Sunday is also the the largest in the south east region since one in Fleet, Hampshire, on December 2, 1985.

People from Dorking , Horley , Capel , Charlwood and near to Gatwick Airport posted on Facebook about feeling the earthquake while Surrey Police also tweeted about tremor reports from residents.

Rumours spreading around social media included some thinking it was an April Fools’ joke while others feared it was from a plane incident at Gatwick Airport .

Lisa Scott, 50, of Reigate Road, Hookwood, said: “I was standing in my kitchen and the whole house shuddered, as if a HGV had gone thundering by at about 60mph, only there was no vehicle.

“My partner yelled from upstairs in a panic asking what was going on. He came running down to see if I was OK. We had loads of locals reporting it and a lot of people in The Fox Revived on Norwood Hill were talking about feeling it.”

David Galloway, a British Geological Survey (BGS) seismologist
David Galloway, a British Geological Survey (BGS) seismologist

Miss Scott added she feared it may “be associated” with previous fracking at the Horse Hill oil drilling site a mile away after reading about similar impacts fracking has had in the USA but admitted that “seems a bit far-fetched”.

Professor Richard Selley, president of the Mole Valley Geological Society, was away on Easter Sunday but explained why an earthquake might be felt in the area.

He said: “I’ve been waiting to feel an earthquake in Surrey for a long time and typically I’m in York this weekend.

“Historically there have been tremors along the North Downs near Redhill as the fault line in the Earth’s crust runs along the whole of the North Downs, which is why it’s there, and up to Dover. But I’ve never known of an earthquake near Newdigate or Dorking.”

Imogen Crook, 24, of Vicarage Lane in Newdigate, said: “I had just got out the shower and was sitting on my bed when I felt the house shake, I thought I was going mad.”

“It was like the house wavered for about five minutes and it just stopped.”

“Nothing fell off a shelf or anything but I thought at first someone had crashed a car into the house and when I looked and saw nothing that’s when I realised it must have been an earthquake,”she added.

Her father, Ian, was walking their dog at the time and stated that he “thought she was telling an April Fools’ joke at first” before a friend called him a few minutes later saying he had also felt it.

*Did you feel the earthquake? Or do you have video footage showing its effect? Contact reporter Luke Jarmyn on 07388 962968 or email

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Article courtesy of Get Surrey