List of earthquakes in South Africa

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USGS seismicity map for South Africa

The following is a list of notable earthquakes or tremors that have been detected within South Africa.

According to Professor Andrzej Kijko from the University of Pretoria's Natural Hazard Centre, mining can activate natural faults. He believes that 95% of South Africa's earthquakes are caused by mining, especially around the areas of Klerksdorp, Welkom and Carletonville. According to earth science consultant Dr Chris Hartnady, "This part of Africa is in the vicinity of the African Rift system, which is being pulled apart by a few millimetres annually." He says "earthquakes are caused by a slip on a fault line and the release of stored elastic energy" and mining activity can trigger earthquakes.[1]

Earthquake data[edit]

For earthquakes prior to the modern era, the magnitude and epicentre location are only approximate, and were calculated based on available reports from the time. The magnitude where given is measured using the Richter scale () unless stated otherwise.

20th and 21st century[edit]

Date Time (SAST) Epicentre Depth Notes
29 September 1969 Near Tulbagh 6.3 The 1969 earthquake remains the most destructive earthquake in South African history. The earthquake occurred in the Tulbagh area and measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, stronger than that of the 1809 Cape Town earthquake which destroyed a local Milnerton farm.[2][3]
8 December 1976 Welkom 5.2 Four miners were killed.[4]
26 September 1990 Welkom 4.2 Two people were killed.[4]
9 March 2005 Stilfontein, North West 5.3 Two miners were killed underground.[5][6]
28 May 2013 Near Mbabane 4.0 The earthquake was felt in Newcastle and lasted about six seconds.[7]
22 June 2013 07:08 Thabazimbi, Limpopo 3.9 9 km The earthquake was felt up in the Thabazimbi area.[8]
7 July 2013 16:52 Barberton, Mpumalanga 4.7 5 km The earthquake was felt in the Barberton area.[9]
11 November 2013 University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Gauteng 4.0 The earthquake was felt as far as parts of northern and southern Johannesburg and lasted for around 10–15 seconds.[10]
2 December 2013 21:18 ~25 km south of Bela-Bela, Limpopo 4.8 5 km The earthquake was felt as far as Parkhurst and Randburg in Johannesburg, Hartebeespoort Dam in North West, Witbank and KwaMhlanga in Mpumalanga, and Soshanguve near Pretoria.[11][12]
15 June 2014 18:16 Near Orkney, North West 4.9 MW 5 km The earthquake was felt up to Potchefstroom.[13]
5 August 2014 12:22 Near Orkney, North West 5.5 5.0 km The earthquake was felt as far as parts of Botswana and Durban, it lasted for around 90 sec. The local Council for Geoscience measured the earthquake at 5.5 on the Richter scale, while the United States Geological Survey recorded a moment magnitude of 5.4.[14][15][16][17]
22 August 2014 1:14 Near Orange Farm, Gauteng 3.8 10 km The second earthquake in South Africa in less than three weeks.[18] No reports of injuries.[19]

The Council for Geoscience (CGS) in South Africa reported an earthquake of 3.8 with two aftershocks occurring within minutes of each other of 3.2 and 2.0 respectively.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hosken, Graeme; Smillie, Shaun; Child, Katharine; Louw, Poppy; Masombuka, Sipho (6 August 2014). "Quake of shaky things to come". Times LIVE. Archived from the original on 15 August 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Shevel, Adele (10 August 2014). "Insurers brace for a wave of quake claims". Business Day. Archived from the original on 15 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Ceres earthquake". 9 Mar 2014. Retrieved 9 Mar 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Seale, Lebogang (14 August 2014). "Quake triggered by mine activity – expert". The Star. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Media Update: 5.5 magnitude earthquake – tremors continue". Council for Geoscience. Archived from the original on 15 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  6. ^ le Cordeur, Matthew (6 August 2014). "Did mining cause SA quake?". Fin24. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Tremor hits northern KZN". IOL. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "3.9 magnitude earthquake 15 km from Thabazimbi, Limpopo, South Africa". Earthquake Track. 22 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "4.7 magnitude earthquake 49 km from Barberton, Mpumalanga, South Africa". Earthquake Track. 7 July 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "Earth tremor felt in Joburg". IOL. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Tremor strikes near Bela Bela". IOL. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "4.8 magnitude earthquake 40 km from Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga, South Africa". Earthquake Track. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "4.9 magnitude earthquake 7 km from Orkney, North-West, South Africa". Earthquake Track. 15 June 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Tempelhoff, Elise; Cilliers, Susan (6 August 2014). "Só skeur Afrika (stadig) in twee" [Thus Africa tears (slowly) in two]. Beeld (in Afrikaans). Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "Aardbewing van 5.3 ruk SA, berigte van skade (twiets)" [Earthquake of 5.3 shakes SA, reports of damage (tweets)]. Beeld (in Afrikaans). 5 August 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "M5.4 – 3km ENE of Orkney, South Africa". United States Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "5.4 magnitude earthquake 4 km from Orkney, North-West, South Africa". Earthquake Track. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  18. ^ "4.6 magnitude earthquake hits west of Orange Farm". 22 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "No injuries after 4.6 magnitude quake". 22 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Three earthquakes hit the Carletonville area early in the morning". 22 August 2014. 

External links[edit]