Earthquake recorded in Scottish Highlands

Fort William High St Buildings were reported to have shaken in Fort William and the surrounding area

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A magnitude 3 earthquake has been recorded near Fort William in the Scottish Highlands.

The quake happened at about 19:36 BST on Thursday evening just west of the town, the British Geological Survey (BGS) said.

It was felt in a number of other areas including Glencoe, Oban and Lochaber, the BGS added on its website.

BGS seismologist Richard Luckett said magnitude 3 quakes occurred in the UK about once a year.

In the part of Scotland where Thursday's earthquake happened, Mr Luckett said it was usually a once in 10 years event.

The seismologist said the quake was felt as far as 18 to 24 miles (30 to 40km) from the epicentre.

The quake has been recorded on the BGS website as measuring 2.9, but Mr Luckett told BBC Radio Scotland that it was being regarded as a more significant magnitude 3.0.

He said quakes of that size would not cause structural damage, but people had reported feeling vibrations and hearing thunder-like rumblings.

One person said their house shook and their dog started whining.

  • A number of small earthquakes are regularly recorded in the Highlands.
  • Over the past few weeks, BGS has recorded quakes in Acharacle, Arran, Jura and Islay.
  • In 2008, Scottish Water brought on stream a new waste water pipe which was designed to withstand minor earthquakes because it lies across the Great Glen Fault in the Highlands.
  • Inverness Town Steeple on the corner of Church Street and Bridge Street was twisted during an earthquake in 1816.

Mr Luckett said the quake occurred in the area of the Great Glen Fault (GGF).

Described by geologists as the site of a large strike-slip fault, the GGF splits the Scottish Highlands into the Grampian Highlands in south east and the Northern Highlands in north west.

It runs from Inverness to beyond Fort William, down the sea loch of Loch Linnhe and towards Ireland.

The GGF's Great Glen is more than 62 miles long (100km) and includes Loch Ness.

Social media users reported shaking houses and the noise of bang after Thursday's quake.

Twitter user ‏@Lindaztap posted: "Was a huge bang and house shook - turns out there was an earthquake in fort william".

The full list of areas that felt the earthquake, according to the BGS, was: Fort William, Glenfinnan, Spean Bridge, Lochaber, Lochailort, Glencoe, Corpach, Kinlochleven, Acharacle, Roy Bridge, Duror of Appin, Gairlochy, Inverlochy, Kentellan, Kilmelford, Kinlocheil, Caol, Banavie, Lochyside, Strontian, Glenaladale, Onich, Ballachulish, Kinlochmoidart, Glenuig, Lismore and Oban.

It is not the first time an earthquake has hit the area.

In 2011, a stronger 3.5-magnitude struck 25 miles (56km) west of Fort William in Glenuig.

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Scotland Decides: SCOTLAND VOTES NO

  1. No 2,001,926
  2. Yes 1,617,989
After 32 of 32 counts Results in detail

Referendum Live

    11:01: Post referendum polling

    Mark Diffley, research director of polling company Ipsos Mori, has told BBC News that voters will be asked why they voted the way they did in the referendum so the result can be analysed.

    Votes cast in the referendum on independence

    He adds: "Scottish voters now, whether they voted 'Yes' or 'No', really do expect the proposals that were made in relation to the Scottish Parliament to be delivered according to the timetable that was set out before the referendum last week."

    Text 80295 10:56: Referendum - Your Views

    Anon: For me, a major issue is the quality of MSPs in Holyrood. If Holyrood is to have more powers, we need to attract quality MSPs. The majority of them are dire, and I wouldn't trust them to organise a school reunion, let alone Scotland's tax and benefit system. They are already making a right pig's ear of the Scottish NHS.

    Nathan, Forres: Oh Jim Murphy - despite many attempts to ask you and Better Together could never provide an answer to that. Labour chipped away at the older folk, calling back several times despite them telling you they knew such things as pensions were safe. Well done to you all for fighting a dirty yet predictable campaign.

    Anon: I voted for a fairer country. One where all politicians from all persuasions would have been able to focus their politics and efforts on those living in Scotland, for the benefit of everyone including the less well of! No doubt many No voters will have a crisis of conscience soon, having accepted, no bridge tolls, free bus passes, tuition fees, council tax etc. Who do these former SNP voters support now at the next election? The Better Together coalition? What an alliance forged by Thatcher's children!

  3. 10:48: Referendum - Get Involved

    Ian Telfer: Over the last three months Scottish Labour recruited circa 17 new members. Since last Friday morning, 13,382 new members for the SNP and counting. At this rate, the annual conference in November will have to be moved from Perth to Hampden

    Text 80295 10:40: Referendum - Your Views

    Ged, Dundee: I voted and made my mind up before the election. Mr Salmond should join together as he said it's Team Scotland. What is he doing now, keeping the country split.

    Anon: Scottish Labour is dead. Standing side by side with the Tories has killed them in Scotland. Now all we hear from Westminster is backtracking and broken promises. Tricked? Of course, the No's were tricked by lies.

    10:33: 'Victory without a vanquished'

    Labour's Jim Murphy, on stage at the Labour conference, says there are "so many things to celebrate" about the "No" vote.

    Jim Murphy

    "One of the lessons I would take is that we have to put the divisions of the past two years behind us," the shadow Cabinet minister said.

    "Both sides of that referendum spent two years emphasising their differences rather than what we had in common.

    "It has to be a victory without a vanquished.

    "We surely cannot have a United Kingdom but a divided Scotland."

    @Jack_Blanchard_ 10:23: Jack Blanchard, Mirror political correspondent

    Journalist Jack Blanchard, at the Labour conference in Manchester, tweets: Jim Murphy arrives to a hero's welcome: "It's great to be on a stage that's a bit bigger and more stable than an Irn Bru crate."

    Text 80295 10:18: Referendum - Get Involved

    Gavin: The powers will be delivered. However, it will take time. Why are people crying out that they have not been delivered yet? If Scotland voted for independence, this would not have happened overnight either and in fact it would have taken several years.

    Elaine in Glasgow: I did not vote No for devo max. I am not old; No because I won't be intimidated by Yes; No to keep the UK together. Alex Salmond made false promises. Yes need to accept that No won. Let's move on together.

    Murray, Dundee: I'm one of many people who voted No but don't want any extra powers. In fact, I want less powers for the Scottish parliament. A great expensive white elephant.

    10:09: 'Shifted the goalposts'

    Finance Minister John Swinney has criticised the "utterly unseemly activity" by the Westminster parties.

    John Swinney

    Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland this morning, he said they had "shifted the goalposts" over devolution of powers to Scotland.

    On the assurances from Labour's shadow Scottish secretary that powers would be transferred as promised, Mr Swinney says: "It's interesting that Margaret Curran was giving assurances this morning on behalf of the Conservative Party... as far as I know she has not been invited to Chequers".

    David Cameron is hosting a summit of senior Conservative MPs at his official country residence today to discuss his plans for constitutional change.

    Mr Swinney also reiterated his support for deputy SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to replace Alex Salmond, saying she would be "an excellent candidate for the leadership of this party".

    He said: "I have made clear to Nicola that she can rely on my unreserved support for the leadership of the party."

    Text 80295 10:04: Referendum - Your Views

    Marg, Sutherland: Would it be better to keep the promises to Scotland first, then deal with England? Or am I very naive?

    Nathan, Forres: Ed Balls seems to take the West Lothian Question back on track with the wording "English votes for English Laws". It had morphed over the weekend to "English matters - English financial decisions" etc when we know fine well a lot of those things affect Scotland too.

    Anon: All the noise being made is by the Yes voters being sore losers. I voted No and would vote No again tomorrow. I would be more worried if some rush decision was made in two days than people actually debating the issues and working out what is best for everyone in the UK. It is ludicrous to think those who voted No expected change within the week. Let's be realistic and not get caught up in this Yes voter "everyone must be happy now, or else!" mentality.

    09:52: 'Powers will be delivered'

    Scotland's only Tory MP, David Mundell, told Morning Call: "The powers will be delivered. I'm sure we could spend the rest of the programme listening to people saying that they won't be and the only way I can refute that is to deliver them.

    "The test is the powers being delivered and I am absolutely confident that they will be."

    09:49: 'English votes for English laws'

    Speaking to the BBC this morning, Labour's Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said the prime minister's pledge to offer "English votes for English laws" is "possibly the most un-prime ministerial thing I've seen David Cameron do in the last few years".

    09:46: Another referendum?

    Former Highland Council leader, Michael Foxley expects there to be another independence referendum within five years.

    The long standing Lib-Dem politician voted 'Yes' for independence, contrary to his party's stance on staying part of the UK.

    He says he believes a second vote is likely because there is a "major risk" Westminster won't deliver substantial new powers to the Scottish Parliament and may also scrap the Barnett Formula.

    09:40: 'Tory MPs furious'

    Journalist Martin Hannan told Morning Call on BBC Radio Scotland: "Without any shadow of a doubt Gordon Brown's intervention with the promise of these powers swung the vote at the last minute. It stopped the momentum for Yes dead in its tracks and people were able to go in and vote No with a clear conscience, because Scotland would be getting more powers.

    "The fact is, we were told these things would happen over the weekend and what have we got today? We've got a meeting between the prime minister and Tory backbench MPs, who are furious at his promise to give more devolution."

  14. 09:38: Referendum - Your Views

    John, Kirkcaldy: It'll be a compromise. The lowest common denominator will prevail. The question is, if it'll be enough to get the agreement of the majority.

    Michael Welby: As an English voter and activist I am determined that the Scots people will get all that has been promised to them by the three leaders. At the same time I want the West Lothian Question addressed.

    09:30: 'Blown up' Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    Labour's Frank Field tweets: "Scotland has blown up the English constitution"

    Text 80295 09:10: Referendum - Your Views

    Robin, Glasgow: I voted No and I do have faith in the new powers being provided. What I never had faith in was Salmond's Vow that he and the Yes voters would accept the result of the referendum and move forward. He has clearly reneged on this, and now makes the sinister prediction the independence can be achieved "by other means". He clearly only wants to follow the sovereign will of the Scottish people if they agree with him.

    Ewan, Nairn: I am 99% sure that the powers (whatever they are, nobody seems to know) won't be delivered, either with substance or in any decent time. However, it's still only scraps and why ' Scotland' voted No to running its own affairs, getting ALL powers and becoming a democratic country is beyond me. Scotland is a pitiful laughing stock. Independence will come and make no mistake, the YES movement is bigger than ever and British Nationalism here will shrink into history.

    Anon: I am a No voter and I am perfectly happy with the way things are progressing with the Westminster parties. I wish Alex Salmond would just accept that; he lost his referendum that nobody asked for and that divided Scotland.

    John in Linlithgow: Do I believe Westminster will deliver more powers to Scotland? NO. And in the declared timescale? NO.

    08:59: 'Sovereign will of the people'

    Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran said the guarantees made by the main parties during the referendum campaign on more powers for Scotland would not fall by the wayside.

    "The Scottish people made an emphatic decision on Thursday," she said. "All parties said before the referendum we'd respect that.

    "The sovereign will of the Scottish people has been expressed and we need to respect that and move forward with the guarantees and commitments made during the referendum campaign.

    "I absolutely guarantee that we have the work done and have substantial progress under way. We'll be moving forward on that immediately."

    Text 80295 08:54: Referendum - Get Involved

    Stuart from Fife: I just wish people would be more patient and realistic. It's only been a couple of days since the vote, the country has voted No and all the moaning and groaning will never change the will of the people. Everybody was sick and tired of all the stress caused by this vote, let's move on and give the politicians breathing space to carry out the job in hand!

    Stevie, Motherwell: I knew the 3 main leaders would go back on their word to Scotland. Gordon Brown had no right promising what he couldn't keep too. It was a devo-trap and I voted Yes.

    Danny: I voted No, I don't care about devo.

    Ryan McArthur, Rothesay, Bute: The promise will not be kept, independence is unstoppable and Scotland will be independent within 15 years.

    08:45: Referendum reaction Louise White Presenter, Morning Call

    An argument has erupted between Labour and the Conservatives surrounding the timetable for further devolved powers to be granted to Scotland following a 'No' vote in the referendum.

    David Cameron says that he also wants constitutional change for England with English MPs only to vote on English Laws and Ed Miliband feels that this shouldn't be attached to The Vow made to Scotland.

    Alex Salmond, meanwhile, has claimed that this shows Westminster is trying to renege on the deal.

    Do you have faith that Westminster will deliver on 'The Vow'?

    Get in touch using 0500 92 95 00 or text 80295.

    You can listen live to the programme here.

    08:33: Devolution commitments 'will be honoured'

    Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran insists the political parties will honour their pledge to deliver more power to Scotland.

    The pledge, made by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg ahead of the referendum, has three parts and also commits to preserving the Barnett funding formula.

    Alex Salmond has accused the three UK party leaders of "reneging" on the pledge.

    The first part of the agreement promises "extensive new powers" for the Scottish Parliament "delivered by the process and to the timetable agreed" by the three parties.

    The second says the leaders agree that "the UK exists to ensure opportunity and security for all by sharing our resources equitably".

    Margaret Curran

    The third "categorically states" that the final say on funding for the NHS will lie with the Scottish government "because of the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources, and the powers of the Scottish Parliament to raise revenue".

    "I can absolutely guarantee that the commitments we made during the campaign will be honoured," the shadow Scottish secretary told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland.

    "They [the Conservatives] can give that guarantee and I think they have given that guarantee. That's my understanding of what they've been saying all weekend.

    "What is clear and people should be assured about are those categoric assurances we have from all the parties that were part of this."

    Text 80295 08:25: Referendum - Your Views

    Anon: We were not tricked Mr Salmond, we voted NO because you did not have answers to the big important questions.

    Robert, Glasgow: Westminster will do what keeps the rest of the UK, their main electorate happy. They don't want to see more power go to Scotland so it won't happen. 1.6 million voices in Scotland will increase to 2.6 surely!

    Janine, East Lothian: Those who voted No did so for a range of reasons. What is clear in speaking to my family and friends is that many were unsure about full independence and were attracted by the devo-max we were promised at the last minute. If they don't deliver devo-max, surely the legitimacy of the whole referendum falls apart?

    08:10: What the papers say

    The Herald leads with a claim that Alex Salmond has argued that Scotland could achieve independence without another referendum.


    The Daily Record says a "rattled" David Cameron has been forced to make a "no ifs, no buts" commitment to more powers for Scotland.

    The Scotsman says the leaders of the three main UK parties are at odds over the delivery of further devolution.

    Read our newspaper round-up here.

    Text 80295 07:58: Referendum - Your Views

    Martin, Glasgow: I don't think a single person in Scotland wants the West Lothian Question to remain. We understand fairness. Why, then, is fixing it supposedly the reason for the collapse of the great Scottish bribe off?

    Lorna, Glasgow: These tax proposals are exactly what Better Together objected to for independence: cross border, tax etc. We should have had more info on this before the referendum.

    Anon: Nicola Sturgeon for first minister... mon the Irn Bru Lady.

    07:53: PM has 'muddied the waters'

    David Cameron has "muddied the waters" on devolved powers in the wake of Scotland's referendum vote, according to a Labour MP.

    Graham Allen, the MP for Nottingham North and chairman of the House of Commons political and constitutional reform committee, said the prime minister should deal with devolution for England separately.

    Labour MP Graham Allen

    "Promises were made by all the union parties; they have to be honoured and they will be honoured," Mr Allen told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme.

    "What's confusing people is the prime minister, threw in on Friday morning, that he wanted to look at English MPs and English votes.

    "I think that's muddied the waters and everyone would be happier if those issues were dealt with separately.

    "That won't compromise any promises that were made by those parties last week before the [referendum] vote took place.

    "There is a separate issue, which is very important, which is Scotland, through their fantastic democratic adventure of the referendum, has raised devolution for everyone else in the union.

    "Really, we just need to be honest about this. We're going to have, at some point, a federal parliament and system in the UK."

    Text 80295 07:40: Referendum - Get Involved

    Anon: UK parties letting Scotland down already; we've had broken promises before. Will we ever learn?

    07:34: Salmond claims voters were 'tricked'

    "No" voters in last week's independence referendum were "tricked" by a late vow of more devolved powers, according to Alex Salmond.

    Salmond, who is stepping down as Scotland's first minister, accused the three UK party leaders of "reneging" on the pledge they made days before Thursday's referendum which he claimed won the "No" vote.

    Alex Salmond

    No 10 dismissed his claims, as the three parties continue to disagree over handling the process of devolution.

    Voters in Scotland rejected independence by 55% to 45%.

  27. 07:25: Referendum - Your Views

    John Mason, Falkirk: Surely the big problem for the Tories is convincing their back-benchers that nothing is being given away to Scotland under increased powers, without letting the cat out the bag to those poor Scottish voters who misguidedly switched? While it's proposed the Barnett Formula remains, alas all new tax-raising powers are deducted from it. Hence, 'devo max' only works for Scotland if the new tax-raising powers exceed the Barnett block grant, and that's not likely to happen! Yes, Mr Brown, you can fool most of the people most of the time, you just did it!

    Ian: How dare you Alex! The people have spoken - let us do what we as a people and nation have done so well! Keep the heid, respect the democratic process and, aye, be humble. We helped create the modern world that way.

    07:18: West Lothian Question David Porter Westminster correspondent

    Here in Manchester [Labour Party conference] there's a palpable sense of relief at the result of the referendum vote. Most delegates enthusiastically back the idea of more powers for Scotland but many, particularly from Labour's English heartlands, want further devolution for their areas too.

    A growing number also believe that the West Lothian Question, concerning the voting rights and responsibilities of Scottish MPs, also needs to be looked at.

    The conference will get the chance to make its feelings about Scotland known this afternoon when the Scottish leaders address delegates in their formal report on Scotland.

    The shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran will say that the Labour Party must reach out to people who voted Yes across Scotland last week and assure them that real change is coming.

    Text 80295 07:10: Referendum - Get Involved

    Anon: Surely English people have some entitlement too? I feel Scots MPs should be banned from voting on English-only issues. In return, then Scotland will get some more powers. Let's hope the Scots don't feel that somehow they're more worthy then all others, they're not.

    07:04: Commons voting rights limited?

    David Cameron is hosting a summit of senior Conservative MPs at Chequers to discuss plans to limit the Commons voting rights of Scottish MPs.

    The prime minister has said a pledge to give Scotland more powers should go hand in hand with changing the role of Scottish politicians at Westminster.

    Alex Salmond (left) and David Cameron

    However, Labour leader Ed Miliband is opposed to linking the two issues.

    The three main parties pledged more devolution during the campaign to encourage Scots to reject independence.

    07:01: Labour 'reaches out' to 'Yes' voters

    Labour aims to reach out to supporters who voted for independence in last week's referendum.

    Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran said senior party figures would meet Labour voters who backed independence in last week's referendum.

    Three of the four local authorities where a majority of people voted "Yes" were Labour-controlled.

    And the SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Socialist Party say they have recruited many former Labour members.

    07:00: Thomas McGuigan BBC Scotland News

    Good morning and welcome to today's live page coverage of the latest post-referendum news and analysis.



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