Eskdalemuir Observatory

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The Eskdalemuir Observatory is located near Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Built in 1904, its remote location was chosen to minimise electrical interference with geomagnetic instruments, which were relocated there from Kew Observatory in 1908 after the advent of electrification in London led to interference with instruments.[1]

The distinguished meteorologist and mathematician Lewis Fry Richardson served as Superintendent at the Observatory between 1913 and 1918.

The observatory is situated in the highland valley, or dale of the Esk river at an altitude of 242m and so represents the climate of highland in northern Great Britain. It currently monitors:

  • Climatological data;
  • Solar radiation;
  • Atmospheric pollution;
  • Geomagnetic fields; and
  • Seismological data.

In the early evening of 21 December 1988, the observatory's seismometers recorded the ground impact of Pan Am Flight 103, which crashed into the nearby town of Lockerbie 23 kilometres (14 mi) away after being destroyed by a bomb. The event registered 1.6 on the Richter scale.[2][3]

It is managed by the British Geological Survey and the Met Office.

There is also a second seismic array approx 3 km north which has been run by Güralp Systems Limited since 2002 on behalf of AWE Blacknest providing the UK part of the international monitoring system of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which allows covert nuclear tests to be detected via their seismic signatures. It consists of an array covering 10 square km of two intersecting lines of 10 pits containing seismometers, a seismological vault and a recording laboratory.[4]


  1. ^ "A Scientific Workshop Threatened by Applied Science: Kew Observatory to Be Removed Owing To The Disturbance Caused by Electric Traction". The Illustrated London News. 8 August 1903. 
  2. ^ "Overview Of Eskdalemuir Observatory". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 9 February 2008. 
  3. ^ "Roseline da Vinci Journey (Page 7)". Roseline da Vinci Web Site. Retrieved 9 February 2008. 
  4. ^ "The Eskdalemuir Seismic Array". Guralp Systems. April 2004. Retrieved 28 October 2007. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°18′44″N 3°12′22″W / 55.31222°N 3.20611°W / 55.31222; -3.20611