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Earthquake tremors felt in parts of Kent, including Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable, Thanet, Dover and Deal

Thousands across Kent were woken by an earthquake this morning.

The east of the county was hit by tremors just before 3am today, although people in most parts of Kent have reported feeling a rumble.

The British Geological Survey said it measured magnitude 4.2 on the Richter scale. The most serious ever recorded was 9.5.

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Damage caused by a previous earthquake in Kent
Damage caused by a previous earthquake in Kent

The BGS also confirmed the epicentre was near Ramsgate, but tremors were experienced throughout most of Kent.

Police say no injuries have been reported, but they are "monitoring the situation".

A spokesman said: "It is understood parts of east Kent have been affected by an earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale.

An image from a seismic monitoring station in Elham near Canterbury
An image from a seismic monitoring station in Elham near Canterbury

"Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue Services have at this time received no reports of any structural damage or injuries.

"We will continue to liaise with our partner agencies to ensure we are providing help and support in any areas needed."

Officers in Canterbury have also tweeted a warning to residents to be wary of conmen trying to cash in on the earthquake by claiming repairs need to be made on homes.

The tremors were felt most strongly in the east of the county, all the way from Faversham to Deal.

But it was also felt further afield, in Ashford, Sheppey and Medway.

Video: People at the epicentre react to the earthquake

People have described hearing a loud rumbling and shaking that lasted for about five seconds.

Others said ornaments fell off shelves, windows rattled and birds were startled.

Seismologist Davie Galloway from the British Geological Survey said this earthquake was more widely felt - but caused less damage - than the Folkestone tremor in 2007 because it was deeper underground.

He said: "We get 200 earthquakes somewhere in the UK every year but not of this size and most go unnoticed by the general public.

"Every two or three years we get one of this size. It's quite significant in the region because people are frightened and alarmed by it because they haven't felt earthquakes before."

In a strange coincidence, Aaron Murphy, 18, from Ashford, was studying earthquakes for his A-level geography exam just minutes before experiencing the tremors.

He said: "I was literally revising up until 20 minutes before it occured. I was revising earthquakes and volcanoes."

No damaged had been reported, but Herbert Smith, from Flete, said he and his wife had to move into a caravan while cracks on their house were examined.

A Faversham fisherman has since claimed he predicted the earthquake almost 24 hours before it hit - because of crab behaviour.

As Mark Hamilton carried out his usual daily fishing duties yesterday morning in the Swale, he says that everything "wasn't quite right".

The tremors were felt across Kent. Picture: British Geological Survey.
The tremors were felt across Kent. Picture: British Geological Survey.
A British Geological Survey map shows the epicentre of the earthquake
A British Geological Survey map shows the epicentre of the earthquake

He said: "We usually catch a whole net filled with crabs, but there were none. This is usually a sign there is going to be a storm but I sensed it would be something a bit different. I sensed something was going to happen.

Elsewhere, Adrian Tottenham, who lives in Fordwich Place, Sandwich, with his wife Helen, said: "I happened to be awake. My first thought was that there was an elephant or large animal lumbering across the roof. My next thought was that someone had got in.

"Our hearts were in our mouths, and we were really quite fearful..." - Adrian Tottenham

"It finished after 15-20 seconds, and it was about five minutes later that the penny dropped that it could have been an earthquake.

"Our hearts were in our mouths, and we were really quite fearful. We made made a very careful tour of the house in the dark, but there was no damage."

Sittingbourne resident Heather Kopp said: "I thought it was a big lorry going past the house but it just seemed to go on for ages.

"I went back to sleep and didn't think anymore about it until I turned on the news first thing and realised it was an earthquake."

The tremors were also felt across Sheppey with Islanders taking to social media to talk about the incident.

There are reports of people being woken in Sheerness, Minster and Warden Bay.

Marian Mepstead said: "A strange rumbling/whining noise about 2.30am followed by whole house shaking about 2.50am. Quite scary."

Julia Judge said: "It woke me up...and my rose ornament on the shelf above my bed fell next to me."

A map of the epicentre
A map of the epicentre

And jokingly, Keith Tidman added: "Big Keith thought the missus had fallen out the bunk bed."

Alan Bengall said: "We live in Personage Chase, Minster, and there was a rumbling sound, the pictures on our wall shook, the house moved as if hit by a heavy lorry, then nothing, no one in our road seemed to be looking out to see what the problem was.

"That's the first time the earth has moved in my bedroom for years. Sorry could not resist that one."

People affected also took to social media sites to describe feeling their houses shake.

Stella Hulott posted on Facebook: "Terrifying, I woke up to what I thought was a shaking room due to too much wine this evening!

"I am in Westgate on Sea. My cats are upset and the husband has slept through it. My heart is still pounding!"

Sam Payne added: "Whole house was moving side to side! Very shocked to wake up to that."

Kent has experienced several earthquakes in recent years.

In 2007, an earthquake also measuring 4.3 hit Folkestone, causing damage to roads and houses.

The following year, tremors shook the town after an earthquake measuring magnitude 5.3 struck in Lincolnshire.

Did you feel it? Describe your experience by commenting below.

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