Surrey struck by 2.4 magnitude earthquake as residents report 'loud bangs' and 'furniture shaking'

The quake was felt at 7.43am today in the same part of the UK where a "swarm" of tremors hit last summer – prompting warnings that more could be in store.

Seismologist Davie Galloway of the British Geological Survey said the tremors were felt by 80 residents this morning.

"We have received several reports, mainly from the RH5 and RH6 postcode areas, Surrey and a few from Crawley, West Sussex, of this event being felt," he said.

"Typical reports described 'furniture shook very gently', 'everything moved forwards then backwards', 'a loud bang and strong impact and shake as though something had fallen on the house' and 'general rumble that lasted for a couple of seconds'."

He said that the tremors were part of a "natural earthquake" and "not linked to fracking or any other similar activity".

Last year special monitoring equipment was installed to better understand what is happening beneath the surface of the area after 15 tremors were felt between April 1 to October 9.

We live on a dynamic planet. Plates move about all the time. They're bashing and moving away from each other

And the latest quake at Newdigate, near Gatwick Airport, may not be the last.

Mr Galloway warned: "It could be the start of another swarm, or it may just be a single event. Time will tell.

"With the past cluster or swarm we put it down to natural seismicity. We live on a dynamic planet.

"Plates move about all the time. They're bashing and moving away from each other."

He said the UK was not on the edge of a plate so did not get hit by huge quakes, but stresses could still affect the rocks.

There are roughly 200-300 earthquakes in Britain every year, but the vast majority are so small that no one notices them. However between 20-30 are over 2.0 magnitude which can be felt over a wider area.

UK earthquakes, particularly in Scotland, are most often attributed to glacial rebound.

Until about 10,500 years ago much of the north of the UK was covered by a thick layer of ice – which pushed the rocks down into the underlying mantle.

These rocks have been slowly rising back up ever since the ice melted, causing occasional earthquakes in the process.

The UK is also subject to tectonic stresses caused by the expansion of the Atlantic Ocean, which is slowly pushing the entire of Eurasia to the east, and from the northward motion of Africa, which is pushing into Europe from the south.

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