THE Somerset earthquake was one of the largest in the UK for some time - and aftershocks are still being picked up 70 miles away.

Earthquake expert Tim Webb said the quake, which had its epicentre in Huntworth, registered 3.2 on the Richter scale.

Seismic activity in the county had been picked up by specialist monitoring equipment for a number of days before the quake at precisely 10.49pm and 18 seconds last night (Thursday).

It took place at 5km below the Earth's surface, which is reasonably shallow.

Aftershocks are likely to be picked up by sensitive scientific equipment throughout the day - reports have already come in of them being felt in Torquay this morning.

Mr Webb said the earthquake was noticed by people as far afield as Cheddar, Ilchester, Martock, Chard, Bridgwater and Taunton.

He said: "We don't often get large earthquakes in this country and especially not in Somerset - 3.2 on the Richter scale is quite big and is the largest in the UK for a while.

"We get about a dozen a year in the UK and thankfully people don't generally notice them.

READ MORE: Earthquake in Somerset.

"They are caused by a build up of stress in the rocks below the surface.

"The last one in this country was in Foxfield, Cumbria on November 30. Earlier in the year there was one of 2.1 in Mull (Scotland) and 2.3 in Halifax."

Mr Webb added: "People won't notice the after shocks and they are nothing to be concerned about. It's simply waves travelling through the rock in the earth. It's a ripple effect and is quite normal and could go on for days."

Other countries to experience earthquakes yesterday included New Zealand, The Dominican Republic, Afghanistan and Switzerland.