London at risk of being hit by a killer quake
Published 17/09/2010 | 05:00
A killer earthquake could hit London at any time, claiming untold numbers of lives and causing billions of euro worth of damage, an expert warned yesterday.
Such a quake is long overdue after the last one occurred on April 6, 1580, said seismologist Dr Roger Musson.
Centred on the Dover Straits, the magnitude 5.5 tremor shook the south-east of England, damaging property and killing two people in London.
Today, a similar "moderate" event would be far more destructive, with towns and cities connected by complex infrastructure and a London population 50 times what it was in the 16th Century.
The reason we should be aware of the danger is that earthquakes have a habit of repeating themselves, said Dr Musson, from the British Geological Survey.
Speaking at the British Science Festival at Aston University, Birmingham, he said: "Even the quake in 1580 was a repeat of a previous one that occurred in 1382, with almost the same epicentre, size and results.
"The exposure of society to earthquakes has increased enormously. In terms of saying when is the next one going to be, all we can do is say that something that has happened twice probably will happen again."