Residents of a rural Welsh village were in for a rude awakening when Wales was hit by the third earthquake this year.
The tremor was centered in the village of Capel Carmel in Gwynedd, north Wales, and reached a magnitude of 1.8 on the Richter scale.
According to the British Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred at 3:43 a.m. on December 20 at a depth of 19 kilometers (11.8 miles).
Frightened residents said the tremors sounded like “a crash of thunder.”
The earthquake was so strong that it was felt even two miles away, in the village of Rhydlios.
The quake had its epicenter in the town of Capel Carmel in Gwynedd, north Wales and reached a magnitude of 1.8 on the Richter scale.
Residents of Capel Carmel, shown here, say the shaking sounded like “a crash of thunder.”
In a local Facebook group, residents said the earthquake was “nothing like past earthquakes.”
They added that the tremor “sounded like it was in heaven.”
Even in the nearby village of Rhydlios, one resident reported that his “house was shaking and vibrating like thunder.”
According to data collected by the British Geological Survey, this is the third tremor to hit Wales this year.
In October, an earthquake measuring 1.3 on the Richter scale shook the town of Llanfigael, on the nearby island of Anglesey.
Seismographs operated by the British Geographical Survey recorded the tremors that shook the area, the blue peaks in this graph show the movement of the ground.
On February 24, an even larger earthquake occurred just three miles north of Merthyr Tydfil in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales.
At midnight, a tremor measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale alarmed residents, who found “the whole house shaking.”
This earthquake was so strong that locals reported that they thought an explosion had occurred.
A resident near the epicenter said the earthquake was so noticeable that “it seemed like the roof was falling in.”
There was also another smaller earthquake at 10:08 am on February 4.
This was captured by seismographs at a depth of 13 kilometers (8 miles) with only 0.9 on the Richter scale.
The coastal area of Gwynedd, pictured, is no stranger to tremors, as a 1.3 Richter scale earthquake struck the nearby island of Anglesey in
The Richter scale measures the energy produced by earthquakes.
While the scale has no upper end, the most devastating tremors reach levels above eight and the most powerful ever recorded reached between 9.4 and 9.6.
Millions of tremors measuring less than 2.5 on the Richter scale occur each year, although they are not normally felt.
This latest earthquake comes after an unusually active year of shaking in Britain.
This earthquake in Wales was preceded by several others, including a magnitude 1.5 earthquake in Cornwall and a magnitude 3.8 event off the coast of Great Yarmouth.
Residents reported “rumbling sounds” after a magnitude 3.3 earthquake hit Staffordshire in March.
Wales hasn’t been the only place hit by earthquakes this year, as major tremors have hit parts of the UK from Blackpool to Essex.
Earthquakes occur when tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust move against each other.
As the plates move in opposite directions, they stick together and then suddenly slide, releasing large amounts of energy.
The areas where earthquakes are most common are along the points where the plates actually meet, called fault lines.
These faults are also often sites of exceptionally high volcanic activity as magma forces its way through gaps in the Earth’s crust.
The UK is situated on a tectonic plate called the Eurasian Plate, but the closest plate boundary to the UK, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, is around 1,000 miles away.
However, tremors can still occur even in the middle of a tectonic plate and the UK experiences between 200 and 300 each year.
Most of these are too small to notice and only about 20 to 30 can be felt in a given year.