AN EARTHQUAKE hit the Lancaster area this morning (April 28, 2009).

The 3.7 Richter tremor struck at 11.22am when people working in the city centre reported feeling their buildings shudder.

David Galloway, a seismologist at the British Geological Survey (BGS), which has monitoring equipment in Morecambe Bay, said the epicentre of the quake had been around Chapel Island, a limestone outcrop near Ulverston.

Mr Galloway said that within an hour of the tremor BGS had received 250 reports via its website and around 50 phone calls from as far afield as Kendal, Thornton Cleveleys and Preston.

He said the last significant quake felt in the area occurred on June 26 1993.

That tremor measured 3 on the Richter scale with an epicentre in Grange-over-Sands.

The author, Robert Swain, said he had felt the tremor at his home in Bolton-le-Sands.

"I was working at my desk when there was a bang and the whole house shook," said Mr Swain, who has written a number of walking books.

"I went down to see what was going on and all the neighbours were outside.

"It was startling, you wonder what on earth is going on."

Lancashire Fire Service and Lancashire Constabulary said they had not received any reports of damage or injuries.

The earthquake which struck central Italy on April 6, killing 295 people, measured 6.3 on the Richter scale.

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