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Cork earthquake not caused by drilling

June 12th, 2015 1:51 PM

By Southern Star Team

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THE 2013 earthquake off the Cork coast was not a result of drilling for oil, three Kinsale students have revealed.

The three TY students from Kinsale Community School have discovered that the quake was most likely due to movement in Earth’s tectonic plates.

As a result, the three have now been honoured by the Cork Geological Association in UCC.

James Barry, Luke Henderson and Tadhg McCarthy won the Geological Survey of Ireland Special Award at the BTYSTE in January with their project ‘Earthquakes in Ireland! What’s Shaking us?’

The trio were recently invited by Dr Bettie Higgs, senior lecturer in Geology in UCC to present their project to an audience which included representatives from CGA and UCC Geology department in the Ted Neville laboratory.

The project set out to establish a cause for the earthquake which struck the coast of Co Cork off Barryroe in December 2013.

A survey carried out by the boys showed that just over half the people (50.3%) in the local area believed there was a link between the earthquake and the drilling for oil in the Barryroe oilfield.

The boys discovered that the earthquake was not caused by oil drilling but by movement along an existing faultline, possibly an ancient lineament, in the North Celtic Sea Basin.

This movement was most likely caused by Alpine compression as a result of Africa pushing northwards into Europe due to plate tectonics.

Dr Sarah Culloty commented on how impressed she was with the work done by the three students.

In addition to being awarded honorary membership of the CGA, the boys were presented with signed copies of Geology in Ireland, A Field Guide by Emeritus Professor Ken Higgs.

James Barry said that the subject of earthquakes fascinated the students.

‘We have enjoyed the whole experience, from winning the GSI Award at the BTYSTE, and now doing this.

Being given honorary membership of such a prestigious association as the CGA is a tremendous accolade and means a lot to us.’ As part of their research the students visited Providence Resources in Dublin where they interviewed Keith Byrne, senior geophysicist.

They also visited DIAS, speaking with Tom Blake, director of the Irish National Seismic Network and the GSI, where they met with the director Koen Verbruggen.

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