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Earthquake hits island home of tremor expert 26.02.08

IT'S an irony that isn't lost on Inishowen-based earthquake expert Prof. John McCloskey.
Normally, the University of Ulster Geophysics professor can be found studying earthquakes in far-flung parts of the world including the particularly volatile region of Sumatra in Indonesia. These days he's talking about a tremor...on his own island home.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 2.4 on the Richter Scale occurred under Inch Island in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Witnesses described hearing a loud metallic bang followed by a rumbling sensation under their homes. Reports were recorded right across North Donegal including Fanad and Carrigart.
Prof. McCloskey told InishowenNews.com that while he didn't experience the aftershock of the earthquake himself, his colleagues told him it had occurred right under Inch Island, where he's lived with his family for the past seven years.
"Normally, I tell people the safest place for seismologists to live is Ireland, but there you have it...you can run but you can't hide," he laughs.
He said the earthquake, which struck around 2.30am, occurred at a depth of around 5km and spread in a seismic circle of around 100 metres in diameter. He said he initially
Prof. John McCloskey
thought the tremor was related to one recorded at a similar time in Norway.
"But the data showed that the one in Donegal occurred two minutes before the Norway one so they weren't related at all," he said. Prof. McCloskey, who is founder of the Geophysics Research Group at the UU Coleraine campus, sprang to international prominence following the catastrophic Indonesian tsunami on St. Stephen's Day, 2004. He received the data on last week's Donegal earthquake from his counterparts in the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh and the Dublin Institute for
Mary Connors Advanced Study in Dublin. When they sent him the charts, the dot marking the epicentre of the quake "completely covered Inch Island".
Mary Connors, who moved to Inch Island from Boston two years ago, heard the earthquake loud and clear. "I was still up because I couldn't sleep very well that night," she said.
"At around 2.30am, I heard this incredibly loud bang that felt like it was coming from right outside my house. It sounded very metallic and I thought maybe a boat had hit rocks or something. Then there was this rumbling sound underneath the house - it felt as if there was a train passing underground. The whole
thing only lasted for about three seconds."
Meanwhile, Prof. McCloskey invited people with witness accounts of the Donegal earthquake to contact his colleagues at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Study. You can email Prof. Tom Blake at tb@cp.dias.ie  or call him on 01 6621333. To read more about John McCloskey click here .
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