Cliffs Of Moher Seismometer picks up Mayo earthquake

On Wednesday, 6 June 2012 The Cliffs of Moher Seismometer picked up Mayo earthquake!

The strongest earthquake ever recorded in the West of Ireland was picked up by the recently installed seismometer at the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.

The magnitude 4 subsea earthquake struck shortly before 9:00 AM today (Wednesday, 06 June 2012) about 60 kilometres west of County Mayo. The tremor was recorded at a depth of 3 kilometres.

It’s the second significant earthquake in as many years to hit the west of Ireland. The 2.7-magnitude trembler in May 2010 in Lisdoonvarna, located just 6 miles from the Cliffs of Moher, remains the strongest onshore earthquake recorded in Ireland since records began in 1978. It was also the first earthquake to be recorded in the southwest of the country since records began in 1978.

Commenting on Wednesday’s earthquake off the coast of Mayo, Tom Blake, INSN Director and Experimental Officer with the School of Cosmic Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), stated: “This is the first event recorded in this area and was felt onshore by quite a number of people. There are some reports of minor structural damage, which have not been confirmed.”

The largest earthquake felt in Ireland occurred on the 19th July, 1984 with a magnitude 5.4, and was located off the coast of Wales. It also caused minor structural damage on the East Coast of Ireland.

According to Mr. Blake: “Although Ireland does not sit on any major plate margin, it is still susceptible to earthquakes as we saw in may today and in Clare in 2010. The Cliffs of Moher seismometer would certainly was well placed to register and record this week’s earthquake. This was a very important seismic event as it was the first time that a tremor had occurred in this region since records began.”

According to Cliffs Director Katherine Webster: “Visitors to the exhibition at the Cliffs can see the seismometer in action. It is so sensitive it can pick up actions such as a person jumping up and down, although these readings do show up differently from an earthquake. We are delighted that the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark is now part of a potential European Geopark seismic network, something which is being promoted by Tom Blake.”

The DIAS began modern seismic recordings in 1978. The Irish National Seismic Network (INSN) now features five permanent stations in Dublin, Kerry, Galway, Donegal and Wexford, along with 55 other seismometers around the country. For more see www.dias.ie.