A MEASURABLE earthquake that struck Dumfries and Galloway on Saturday afternoon has left local people and experts mystified as to why the area has now been struck by an earth tremor for the second time in a decade.

The earthquake struck just before 1pm and the British Geological Survey (BGS) measured it as having a magnitude of 2.0 – small by comparison with most tremors. It was also triggered by an event some 6.8 miles below the surface – most damaging quakes happen nearer the surface.

Nevertheless it was felt by local people around the epicentre which was north-west of Dumfries near the hamlet of Drumpark.

The BGS reported it had been “felt by several people in Dumfries, Kirkpatrick Durham, Thornhill, Dunscore, Lochmaben, Southwick, Kirkgunzeon and New Galloway. According to reports from local people, the tremor caused “weak shaking”, “a low rumbling noise” and “a slight rumble like thunder”.

Local people took to Twitter to comment on the tremor, with one saying it wasn’t “a noisy tractor” while another quipped: “The way this year’s been I’m hoping it’s not Godzilla waking up.”

Rab Thomson managed to get in a political point when he wrote on Facebook: “Imagine what might happen if this occurred a bit further West when this proposed tunnel from Portpatrick to Ireland was completed.”

The funniest comment on Facebook came from Victoria McNamara who wrote: “I heard rumbles, but I presumed it was wind. I’m veggy so beans means two on the Richter scale is usual”

There’s a serious side to this story, however, not least because local geology does not indicate why tremors happen, especially with any kind of frequency.

BGS are asking people who experienced the tremor to help their seismology team by filling out a “felt report” describing their experience of the quake. It can be accessed by the BGS website.

Scotland’s earthquake centre is famously in the Perthshire town of Comrie which is known locally as the “shaky toun”.

Its proximity to the Highland Boundary Fault – which cuts across Scotland from Helensburgh in the west to Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire in the east – is the reason why it has received more measurable tremors than any other location in Scotland. The Earthquake House, built on a field on the west side of Comrie, is reported to be Europe’s smallest listed building.

The Dumfries and Galloway region is far south of the Boundary Fault but the area has been known to suffer small earthquakes in recent times.

Indeed it was just ten years ago that a quake measuring 2.3 on the Richter scale struck the area, and a previous tremor of 3.6 magnitude struck the town of Dumfries itself in 2006.