Small Earthquake Shakes England
Map of earthquake location today (Jan. 18, 2013) in central England.
Credit: USGS.

A small earthquake of preliminary magnitude 2.9 struck today in central England, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The temblor was centered in Hathern, England, about 100 miles (160 km) north-northwest of London. It originated 7.5 miles (12 km) deep and struck at 5:20 a.m. local time (0520 GMT), the USGS reports.

Earthquakes of this size might be felt by people near the epicenter but typically do not cause significant damage.

There were no immediate of damage, though the British Geological Survey said it received around 250 reports from residents who felt the quake across Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire

One resident of Loughborough, just north of Leicester, told the BBC the quake seemed "almost like a plane going over or an explosion in the distance." Others told the broadcaster it sounded like a train passing underground.

The destruction caused by any single quake depends on its depth, proximity to populated areas, building standards in the region, as well as the type of earthquake.

An earthquake's magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the source. It is just one predictor of the shaking that may ensue, which is affected by local and regional geology. Scientists know in a general sense what causes Earthquakes but are unable to predict specific quakes.

This article will be updated if significant additional information becomes available. Find more earthquake news here.