Earthquakes in Manchester !


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It was a strange week, all told.  From the morning of Monday 21 October 2002, when the floor, ceiling, walls and everything in between first shook (at around 8:45am), while spaceman lay in bed, puzzled by the sudden movement, asking spaceman's non-resident other half why the commotion, it was clear that something funny was going on.  As everyone arrived at work, the talk was of the mysterious shaking in the morning and it became clear that Manchester , of all places had been struck by a minor earthquake, which measured 3.2 on the Richter scale.

But it was later that day, at 12:42pm, that the fun really began.  Out of nowhere, the whole place shook, the floor felt like jelly - it wasn't frightening, though; it was more fascination at the power of which this planet is capable.  This was the biggie, scoring 3.9 on the Richter scale.  Then, as if purely for the purpose of those who weren't paying attention the first time (or caught on the loo), and to give others a re-run, everything shook again, but less violently this time.  The second one wasn't quite as strong, everyone felt, being a bit like the former quake's little brother.  It became clear that we were in the midst of a series of tremors.

The internet provided a useful haven for those seeking more information on this amazing phenomenon.  It was discovered that Manchester was being subjected to a rare "quake swarm" and that there were more tremors than were being felt.  It became a regular occurrence over the next week, so much so that the typically black-humoured Mancunians began to treat it as being run of the mill.  Used to endless drizzle rather than violent storms, it was typical for Manchester to have lots of little quakes rather than one major one.  Having said that, it did feel like the apocalypse was on its way when an almighty thunderclap shocked everyone at lunchtime on the Friday of the first "earthquake week", with some people blubbering that it was a bomb.

Spaceman did a fair share of the research too, discovering the home page of the British Geological Society, which gave far more detail on what was happening, including details of every quake to have struck Manchester since the start of the "swarm".  This showed that the first quakes actually occurred in the early hours of the Saturday before the famous Monday, but they were too minor to be felt.  By the 30th of November, around a hundred or so quakes had been counted...

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