West Clare hit by seismic tremor


THE EARTH moved for residents in west Clare on Thursday night in what was the first seismic tremor to have occurred in the region since records began in 1978.

Met Éireann yesterday confirmed that a “seismic event” measuring 2.7 on the Richter scale was recorded at its monitoring station at Valentia observatory at 10.24pm on Thursday.

According to Thomas Blake of the school of cosmic physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, the tremor was 10 times more powerful than a tremor in Co Donegal earlier this year.

“It was a reasonably good shake,” he said, but noted that a magnitude of this size could in no way compare to earthquakes on the scale of Haiti, which at 7.0 on the logarithmic-based Richter scale was around 10,000 times more powerful than the tremor felt in Clare.

The seismologist said the event was very important as it was the first time a tremor had occurred in the west of Ireland since records began. “This event forces us to re-evaluate the west of Ireland’s geology as tremors in the past have only been felt in Co Donegal and the southeast coast.”

Met Éireann said it was a relatively minor seismic event.

“Globally, there might be as many as 1,000 of that magnitude per day, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary – it’s just unusual for Ireland,” said meteorologist Joan Blackburn of Met Éireann.

Describing the tremor, Liscannor resident Martin Doyle said: “I felt the whole roof shake. I thought the wall was collapsing. My neighbour called and he thought that the sound he heard was me falling down the stairs.”

Lahinch hotelier, Michael Vaughan said: “The sound was something like a sonic boom. Other people living in the area were disturbed by it.”

A spokesman at Ennistymon Garda station said: “We received a number of phone calls at the time from people reporting a loud bang.”