Quake shakes Vendée awake

Tremor with a magnitude of 4.8 lasted several seconds

An earthquake shook houses and woke residents in the Vendée in the early hours.

The 4.8 magnitude tremor struck shortly before 4.10am, 19 kilometres from Fontenay-le-Comte, according to the Réseau national de surveillance sismique (RéNass).

It was the biggest tremor in the west of France since the Charente was shaken by a 4.9 magnitude quake in 2016, and was felt 40km away in Deux-Sèvres.

Witnesses said that the rumbling lasted four or five seconds, while the quake prompted a number of residents to take to social media.

A local baker who was already up and working told Franceinfo that he thought a truck had crashed into his bakery, while the mayor of La Châtaigneraie, who was woken up by the quake, said he also feared a vehicle had hit a neighbouring house.

Seismologist Alessia Maggi told the broadcaster that the Vendee is in a region of France where 'moderate seismic activity' is expected. This level of quake occurs, on average once a year in France.

She added that aftershocks "of equivalent or even slightly greater magnitude" could not be ruled out.

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