On 27th February 2008, something very unusual happened in the UK; there was a rather large earthquake.
It was the biggest earthquake in 25 years in the UK. There have been very small tremors in the past but they pale into insignificance compared to this one. It was felt in a large area across the country too, from as far north as Edinburgh in Scotland to as far south as Plymouth on the south coast of England. The epicentre of the earthquake was in a small town in Lincolnshire, which is an area about two and a half to three hours north of London by car. A magnitude of 5.2 was registered on the Richter scale.
There were lots of reports in the news from people who felt the earth move. One man said, "We had loads of vibratingand wall shaking and stuff, noise coming off the roof. I came outside - the chimney's on the floor!" A collapsed chimney was the cause of what was probably the worst injury from the earthquake; a man broke his pelvis when the chimney fell on him.
Another man who spoke to the BBC described the moment the earthquake occurred, "Everything was shaking. As soon as it happened we all went outside and saw everyone else down the street, coming out and just realised it was an earthquake".
The huge rumble that was felt by a lot of people, surprisingly caused very little structural damage to property.
Most British people would be surprised to learn that there are 200-300 earthquakes in Britain every year - but most of them are so small, they go unnoticed. The magnitude of this earthquake is fairly small in comparison to some other natural disasters that have made international news, but for the people affected, it certainly came as quite a surprise.
pale into insignificance
seem completely unimportant
the point on the Earth's surface directly above an earthquake
the (large) scale, size or, as in this case, force of something
the Richter scale
a commonly used system that measures the strength of an earthquake
(informal) and the like/and so on
a hollow structure that allows the smoke from a fire used to heat a house to escape outside
that fell down suddenly because of the strength of the earthquake
(anatomical) the bowl-shaped bone structure below the waist at the top of the legs to which the leg bones and spine are joined
happened, took place
here, earthquake (the word refers to the continuous low sound you can hear during an earthquake)
harm done to buildings, roads, bridges etc.
people don't notice them
events caused by nature, which result in great harm, damage or death (e.g. earthquakes, tsunami waves, floods etc.)