Shropshire Star

The day an earthquake brought panic to the streets of Shropshire

Earthquakes are probably one of the most fearsome weapon in nature’s armoury.

Firefighters making safe a damaged chimney in Shrewsbury in 1990

While Britain thankfully doesn't suffer from destructive tremors, it doesn't mean it doesn't get shook.

In fact up to 300 happen every year – including some in Shropshire. It is just that most of them happen without anyone realising.

The latest hit Cornwall at the weekend, with one local reporting the impact was "like a juggernaut hitting the house".

The British Geological Survey said a 2.7-magnitude tremor shook the Mount's Bay area at 12.50am on Sunday.

That is chicken feed in comparison to the biggest earthquake to hit Shropshire back in March 1990.

Centred between Knighton and Newtown, along the River Teme, experts originally estimated it at 6.3 on the Richter Scale but later reduced it to 5.2.

This was the same level as the last quake to strike Shropshire in July, 1984 – only three months after an earlier tremor measured 3.4 on the Richter Scale.

The epicentre of the 1984 quake was off the Welsh seaside resort of Porthmadog and as far as Shropshire was concerned, while buildings were rocked, there were few reports of structural damage.

But the effects of the 1990 tremors were far more serious and far more widespread.

The whole of the county was affected, Shrewsbury particularly seriously. Entire buildings shook, sending masonry tumbling into the streets, and part of the town was sealed off.

Many public buildings were evacuated, either at the time or amid warnings of after-shocks later.