The Earthquake House

Earthquake House, The Ross
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Earthquake House, The Ross

Situated in a field in The Ross at the western end of the 'Shakey Toun' of Comrie in Perth and Kinross, the Earthquake House was built directly on top of the bed-rock in 1874 for the British Association's Committee for the Investigation of Scottish and Irish Earthquakes. A small, square building, it contains a model of the original Mallet Seismometer alongside modern seismological instruments. Earthquake House is positioned on the Highland Boundary Fault, the first earthquake having been recorded here in 1597. A major series of 70 shocks were noted in 1789 and the Great Earthquake took place in 1839. This convinced the 'Comrie Pioneers', comprising postmaster Peter Macfarlane and shoemaker James Drummond, to set up the world's first modern seismometer here in 1840. Macfarlane devised an early intensity scale while Drummond kept a record of the earthquakes. Another burst of earthquake activity in 1869 brought renewed scientific interest and the building of the Earthquake House. It had become disused by 1911 but was designated as a building of special architectural or historical interest in 1977, making it one of the smallest listed buildings in Britain. It was restored in 1988, when the modern equipment was installed by the British Geological Survey.

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