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|17 February, 2018

Small earthquake hits Britain, strongest for 10 years

Earthquakes are not common in Britain and are rarely powerful

Image used for illustrative purpose. The newly built U.S. Embassy can be seen from across the River Thames in Nine Elms in London, Britain, January 12, 2018.

Image used for illustrative purpose. The newly built U.S. Embassy can be seen from across the River Thames in Nine Elms in London, Britain, January 12, 2018.

REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON: Britain was hit by its biggest earthquake in a decade on Saturday, the British Geological Survey (BGS) said on Saturday, with tremors felt across parts of Wales and southwest England but no notable damage reported.

The BGS said the quake was of magnitude 4.4, with an epicentre 20 km (12.5 miles) north of the Welsh city of Swansea, adding that it was the biggest quake in the Britain since 2008.

Earthquakes are not common in Britain and are rarely powerful. The 2008 quake in Market Rasen, north-east England, was magnitude 5.2 - 16 times more powerful than Saturday's quake.

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However, Saturday's earthquake in Wales was felt as far away as Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, over 200 km (125 miles) away.

Videos on social media showed people gathered outside Swansea University, which was holding an open day, after an apparent evacuation.

"Thank you to everyone who attended our visit day. We hoped that you had a surprisingly 'earth moving' experience!" Swansea University said on Twitter.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Alison Williams and Edmund Blair) ((alistair.smout@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 7064; Reuters Messaging: alistair.smout.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))