UK hit by SERIES of earthquakes – and it is a mystery what is causing them | Science | News


Experts have noted 12 earthquakes in Newdigate, Dorking, Horley and Charlwood since the beginning of April, prompting calls for oil drilling to be banned.

Four senior geologists have demanded a temporary ban on oil drilling after the “swarm” of tremors as they look for the source of the quakes.

Oil companies were given permission to search for fossil fuels beneath the surface of a spate of locations in Surrey, but the researchers have said that the potential dangers were not properly explored.

One of the leading concerns is that an earthquake, which have reached a relatively strong 3.0 magnitude on the Richter scale, could rupture an oil well which could contaminate water and wildlife.

The academics from University College London, Imperial College and Edinburgh University wrote to The Times: “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, some of the companies who are conducting the drilling have hit back.

Paul Vonk, managing director of Angus Energy, which runs the Brockham site, said it was “scientifically and physically” impossible to say that they had caused the tremors.

The BGS then seemed to back up the oil company’s account, saying a natural earthquake was more likely and they were probably not caused by drilling.

Brian Baptie, head of earthquake hazards at the BGS, told The Times: “Natural earthquakes tend to be a little bit deeper but it’s not unheard of to get natural earthquakes at those kind of depths. My feeling is that a natural cause seems more likely.”



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