A critical history of British earthquakes


Abstract

This paper reviews the history of the study of historical British earthquakes. The publication of compendia of British earthquakes goes back as early as the late 16th Century. A boost to the study of earthquakes in Britain was given in the mid 18th Century as a result of two events occurring in London in 1750 (analogous to the general increase in earthquakes in Europe five years later after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake). The 19th Century saw
a number of significant studies, culminating in the work of Davison, whose book-length catalogue was published finally in 1924. After that appears a gap, until interest in the subject was renewed in the mid 1970s. The expansion of the U.K. nuclear programme in the 1980s led to a series of large-scale investigations of historical British earthquakes, all based almost completely on primary historical data and conducted to high standards. The catalogue published by BGS in 1994 is a synthesis of these studies, and presents a parametric catalogue in which historical earthquakes are assessed from intensity data points based on primary source material. Since 1994, revisions to parameters have been minor and new events discovered have been restricted to a few small events.

Keywords

historical earthquakes;seismicity;earthquake catalogues

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN:  2037-416X