Krugersdorpers were woken up at about 5am this morning (3 April) when they felt the earth moving beneath them.
The earthquake monitoring group at the US Geological Society (USGS) reported that an earthquake measuring a magnitude of 5.2 on the Richter scale, started on the outskirts of Potchefstroom. The epicentre of the quake was 8km south of Stilfontein, an area that is notorious for its seismological events.
Also read: Tremor hits West Rand
The earth shook for about one minute and the quake could be felt as far north as Gaberone, Botswana and as far south as Lesotho.
Cities like Potchefstroom, Klerksdorp and Orkney that are closest to the epicentre experienced the worst of the tremor. Some people felt heavy furniture moving, others saw plaster fall from walls and slight damage to their houses.
Krugersdorpers reported on social media that they too felt the earth shake and were a little frightened.
The Richter scale measured a magnitude of 2.8 in Krugersdorp. The USGS defines such a magnitude earthquake as only felt by a few persons especially at the upper levels of buildings.
Here are some of the towns’ residents responses to the quake:
In 2014, another earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale occurred near Orkney, a town that has a lot of mining activity.
A recent study to determine the cause of the earthquakes said it is not a simple determination at all. In 2014 the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria held a discussion about whether or not the earthquakes were caused by mining, or natural tectonic plates shifting. Another theory they discussed was whether mining triggered the natural events. However, the depth of the 2014 tremor was 4,1km, while the most recent tremor occurred at a depth of 5km, and mining in the area only goes down to about 3,5km.
Tremors caused by mining only reach a magnitude of about 3.5 on the Richter scale.
There was another earthquake in the same area in 2005, when two miners were killed. The cause of that tremor was said to be mining activity.
To view an interactive map of all the details click here
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