A history of earthquakes in Scotland

30th April 2023

Scotland is no stranger to earthquakes. In fact, the country has experienced several major quakes over the centuries, including one in 1755 that was felt as far away as London.

So, what causes earthquakes in Scotland? The answer lies in the country’s geology. Scotland is located on the boundary of two tectonic plates, the Eurasian Plate and the North American Plate. These plates are constantly moving, and their movement can cause earthquakes. Fortunately, they are usually minor.

One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in Scotland was in 1880, with a magnitude of 5.2. This earthquake caused several aftershocks and was felt right along the west coast. Another struck the Ochil Hills on this day in 1736.

More recently, there have been a number of smaller earthquakes in Scotland, including one in 2009 with a magnitude of 4.8. This earthquake was felt across the country, and caused some damage to buildings in Edinburgh.

The Scottish Government has a number of measures in place to mitigate the risk of earthquakes. These measures include:

  • Building codes that require new buildings to be designed to withstand earthquakes.
  • A public awareness campaign to educate people about the risks of earthquakes.
  • A network of seismometers that monitor for earthquakes.
  • The Scottish Government is also working with the European Union to develop a European Earthquake Risk Assessment and Management Plan.

This plan will help to ensure that Scotland is prepared for future earthquakes.


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