South Lochaber rocked by minor earthquakes

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Minor earthquakes rocked South Lochaber in the early evening of Wednesday November 13 when people living in Ballachulish and Glencoe reported hearing ‘rumbles’.

The British Geological Survey, which records seismic activity, detected a magnitude 1.9 earthquake at 17.41 and a magnitude 1.7 quake six minutes later from a seismometer in Ballachulish.

Residents will be happy to know this is a minor event and things like this happen every now and again around the Highlands.

The seismograph for the second rumble was recorded six minutes after the initial stronger one. Photograph: British Geological Survey

Jim Blair, chairman of Lochaber Geopark, heard two ‘double-rumbles’ at his home in North Ballachulish.

Mr Blair and his wife were originally worried their central heating boiler had exploded, but were pleased to hear it was just a minor geological event.

He said: ‘Lochaber gets a small number of ‘little’ earthquakes each year. They are sometimes thought to be the earth’s crust recovering and uplifting from the unloading of the crust after the melting of the glaciers of the last Ice Age.

‘The old Glen Coe volcano rumbling? No. That erupted about 420 million years ago, for about one to two million years and is long since extinct.’


This seismograph for the larger quake shows the rumbling that was felt in south Lochaber. Photograph: British Geological Survey