Wecome to the seismic monitoring website of the Engineering Seismology group at the University of Liverpool. This web site has been established as part of our ongoing monitoring of baseline (natural) and induced earthquake activity in the north-west of England.

Recent Activity

North West England Seismic Monitoring

This project aims to monitor and characterise seismicity and seismic noise levels at the proposed Preston New Road shale gas site in north-west England (near Preston/Blackpool, Lancashire).

Cuadrilla Resources intend to extract shale gas at this site by using hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Fracking aims to fracture reservoir rock at depth, facilitating the extraction of gas within it. The approach has proven controversial since it relies on inducing micro-seismicity through high-pressure fluid injection to fracture the underlying reservoir rock. This process been linked [1] in some cases to the generation of larger earthquakes that may be felt at the surface. A notable example is the 2011 M2.3 event in Blackpool, associated to fracking at Preese Hall [2].


Schematic representation of (non-)conventional hydrocarbon deposits by 'MagentaGreen' [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Using high-sensitivity instrumentation (seismometers) located at sites across Lancashire, we are able to detect small tremors that occur naturally within the crust. We also continuously monitor seismic ambient noise, which is caused by various natural and man-made processes (tides, traffic etc.). The data from these sites are stored locally and, at some sites, are streamed to a central server in Liverpool using 3G-connected Raspberry PI computers. The latest data from these instruments can be seen here: today's seismic activity. Snapshots of earthquake events (see the list at the BGS) recorded on instrument L004 (E-W direction) are shown here.

seismometer monitoring site

Left: seismometer installed at monitoring sites (image: Nanometrics Trillium 120). Right: Monitoring site with real-time data transmission.

[1] Atkinson, G.M., Eaton, D.W., Ghofrani, H., Walker, D., Cheadle, B., Schultz, R., Shcherbakov, R., Tiampo, K., Gu, J., Harrington, R.M. and Liu, Y., 2016. Hydraulic fracturing and seismicity in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. Seismological Research Letters, 87(3), 631-647. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1785/0220150263

[2] Clarke, H., Eisner, L., Styles, P. and Turner, P., 2014. Felt seismicity associated with shale gas hydraulic fracturing: The first documented example in Europe. Geophysical Research Letters, 41(23), pp.8308-8314.

Latest news

Site L004 has gone offline recording mode due to low power

Now showing cross correlation event detections at site L004 here

See the detected earthquake events at site L004 here

Currently sites L002, L004, L006, L007, L008 and L009 are live. Other sites are recording locally. L001 link is down, but recording locally.

Web site is currently under construction and may go offline for periods of time during testing.

Sites L001-L004 and L008 have been updated and are now live-streaming data to the central server.