The earthquake, at 6.52pm, was spotted by the monitoring station at Scarborough and showed up on the seismograph (pictured)
The largest earthquake to hit Britain for almost a decade was felt in North Yorkshire on Tuesday evening.

The tremor measuring 3.9 on the Richter Scale happened in the North Sea 100 miles east of Scarborough at 6.52pm, the British Geological Survey said.

Although the British Isles are not at risk of a devastating earthquake bringing widescale destruction or mass casualties, it is thought 20 to 30 minor movements happen each year.

Yesterday's quake was the largest since a 5.2 magnitude tremor hit Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, in February 2008.
It was felt as far away as Aberdeen and Ireland.

The largest earthquake ever recorded in the UK measured 6.1 and happened on Dogger Bank, in the North Sea, in 1931.

The most destructive was around Colchester, Essex, in 1884, measuring 4.6 on the Richter Scale. Some 1,200 buildings needed repairs, chimneys collapsed and walls were cracked, the British Geological Survey said.

It was 60 miles offshore but was still powerful enough to cause minor damage to buildings on the east coast of England.

The British Geological Survey said on its website that earthquakes on the east coast of the UK are relatively rare.

'Earthquakes are almost completely absent from eastern Scotland and north east England. Similarly, Ireland is almost completely free of earthquakes. The North Sea is more active than the mainland,' it stated.

Although far from the boundary of any tectonic plate - the giant sections of the earth's crust on which land masses sit - the quake will still have been caused by their movement.

'The driving forces for earthquake activity in the UK are unclear; however they include regional compression caused by motion of the Earth's tectonic plates, and uplift resulting from the melting of the ice sheets that covered many parts of Britain thousands of years ago,' the organisation said.

Dave Holborn, an IT consultant who lives in Scarborough, tweeted: 'Earthquake strikes off Scarborough coast - I didn't feel a thing, although I was in a spinning class at the time.'