North Staffordshire Earthquakes

Since the latter part of the nineteenth century several areas in North Staffordshire have experienced occasional series of Earth tremors which are known locally as 'goths' or 'bumps'.

Between early 1975 and August 1997 the Hanford and Trent Vale areas in the southern suburbs of Stoke-on-Trent over 50 events were felt, the largest being a magnitude 2.8 event on 15th July 1975 which caused some local damage. The earthquakes were associated with the extraction of the Ten Feet seem which was mined between 1973 and 1977 from the Wolstanton pit. Activity centred on the region above the face and the pillars of adjacent seems. Events could not be correlated with any of the major or minor geological faults in the area.

Swarm activity started again in May 1980. Activity was located in two centres, one near Cobridge, the the Banbury seem was being worked, and one near Talke, where no mining was currently ongoing. 11 events were felt during this period including the magnitude 3.3 Talke Pits event on 9th November 1980, the largest local event felt in recent times.

Between 1982 and 1987 activity in the region was very low, although the Lleyn Peninsula earthquake on 19th July 1984 was felt strongly in Staffordshire. On 2nd July 1987 an earthquake was felt in the Hanley region. A series of events the occurred in the Smallthorne district over the next few years culminating in a magnitude 3.0 earthquake on 4th March 1990. A month later, on 2nd April the Bishop's Castle earthquake (magnitude 5.1) in the Welsh borders was felt strongly across the region.

Two swarms of earthquakes became active in February 1995. Initial activity was located between Wolstanton and Cobridge and started with a magnitude 2.5 earthquake on 20th February with six felt events and 108 recorded at Keele in a week. Activity decreased after the 26th April 1995 magnitude 1.4 event but recommenced in May 1966 with a series of four earthquakes including a felt magnitude 2.8 on 6th May.

A second swarm became active two days after the first on 22nd February 1995 located south of Newcastle-under-Lyme with an initial event of magnitude 2.3. Five events at sporadic intervals were felt. Events in this second area show typical characteristics of mining induced earthquakes with a clear rise in activity during the working week and a decrease at weekends. There was a period of quiesence after the magnitude 2.3 event suggesting that this had released a significant amount of the local stress, sufficient to halt local activity for a week.

Also felt in Staffordshire during this period was a magnitude 3.4 earthquake near Shrewsbury on 7th March 1996

Activity in the area south of Newcastle-under-Lyme, between Whitmore and Keele recommenced between October 1997 and April 1998 with numerous felt events, the largest being around magnitude 2. Activity largely ceased in this area towards the end of 1998 with the closing of the Silverdale Colliery. An earthquake of magnitude 2.8 occurred on September 7, 1999 about 1.5 km southwest of the previous mining induced events. Details of this event appear here.

On the 2nd January 1996 two tremors struck Kidsgrove, the latter causing minor damage. The following is a list of earthquakes felt in the North Staffordshire, U.K. region during the period 1987 to present. This list is by no means comprehensive, just those of which we have notice. Any additional information is always welcome, please contact us.

More information about more recent local earthquakes can be found here.

 

North Staffordshire Felt Earthquakes 1987 - Present
YearMonthDayTimeMag.Location
1987 July 02
felt Hanley
1988 April 20
felt Smallthorne
1988 October 30 02:45 1.2 Smallthorne
1988 November 07 17:55 1.9 Smallthorne
1990 February 26 13:10 2.3 Smallthorne
1990 March 04 00:19 3.0 Smallthorne
1990 April 02 13:46 5.1 Bishop's Castle
1993 June 29
2.0 Talke Pits
1995 February 20 01:59 2.5 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 February 22 07:51 2.3 Whitmore - Keele
1995 February 20 16:44 1.6 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 February 21 23:15 2.2 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 February 22 10:33 2 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 February 22 21:15 2.3 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 February 22 21:17 1.7 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 February 22 23:40 1.7 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 February 23 01:27 1.8 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 February 23 21:14 1.6 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 February 24 10:31 2.2 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 February 25 03:16 1.5 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 February 28 04:43 1.4 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 March 25 15:42 1.6 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 April 26 23:34 1.4 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 October 14 21:18 1.5 Whitmore - Keele
1995 November 27 03:12 1.8 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1995 November 29 20:51 2 Whitmore - Keele
1996 February 20 21:13 1.9 Whitmore - Keele
1996 March 07 13:19 1.9 Whitmore - Keele
1996 March 07 23:41 3.4 Shrewsbury
1996 March 16 06:26 2.3 Whitmore - Keele
1996 May 05 09:08 1.7 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1996 May 06 03:49 2.8 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1996 May 06 11:10 1.8 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1996 May 11 20:28 1.9 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1996 August 25 00:42 1.9 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1998 January 25 21:23 1.2 Whitmore - Keele
1998 February 5 08:28 1.8 Whitmore - Keele
1998 February 13 11:04 1.8 Whitmore - Keele
1998 February 19 22:45 1.5 Whitmore - Keele
1998 February 28 02:42 1.5 Whitmore - Keele
1998 March 8 01:50 1.3 Whitmore - Keele
1998 March 16 08:23 1.2 Whitmore - Keele
1998 March 18 03:12 1.3 Whitmore - Keele
1998 March 26 02:53 1.3 Whitmore - Keele
1998 March 30 19:18 1.2 Whitmore - Keele
1998 March 31 17:50 1.0 Whitmore - Keele
1998 April 1 03:20 1.3 Whitmore - Keele
1998 April 6 21:59 1.4 Whitmore - Keele
1998 April 17 03:59 1.7 Whitmore - Keele
1998 April 30 01:36 1.7 Whitmore - Keele
1998 May 14 18:36 1.5 Whitmore - Keele
1998 August 9 20:50 1.8 Wolstanton - Cobridge
1998 September 26 13:06 1.7 Whitmore - Keele
1999 September 7 12:05 2.6 Whitmore - Keele
1999 October 2 03:56 2.4 Whitmore - Keele
2000 February 24 01:03 1.7 Cobridge-Wolstanton
2002 September 22 23:53 5.0 Dudley
2003 February 21 11:26 2.0 Whitmore
2003 February 22 11:24 2.3 Whitmore
2003 February 23 02:59 1.4 Whitmore
2003 March 1 02:01 2.2 Whitmore
2003 March 5 00:12 1.7 Whitmore
2003 March 8 10:59 1.9 Whitmore
2005 June 8 01:21 2.6 Wolstanston-Cobridge
2009 December 24 16:12 2.1 Shelton
2009 December 25 09:00 1.7 Shelton

Reference : Recent Seismicity in the Stoke-on-Trent Area, Staffordshire. British Geological Survey Technical Report WL/97/27 1997. J.H. Lovell, P.H.O. Henni & G.D. Ford (BGS), C. Baker, I.G. Stimpson & W. Pettitt (Keele University)