A little over two hours ago my desk started shaking. Then I realised our entire building was shaking. So this was how it was going to end?
About twenty seconds later the Earth stopped moving and two seconds later #earthquake was trending on Twitter and South Africa experienced a sudden spike in online activity. Someone needs to do a study on what this says about us as a species.
Anyhow, according to the USGS the quake measured a magnitude of 5.3 at the epicentre which is a little under 100km away from us. No damage here, but closer to the action at least one person was killed when a wall collapsed and an as-yet unknown number of miners are trapped underground (oh, yes, the epicentre is in a major gold-mining region). It’s also not known yet whether mining activity could have triggered the earthquake.
Those of you interested in this type of thing can find more information here.
P.S. Did I say no damage? Not quite accurate. My chess set was massacred.A lone tower remains standing
3 thoughts on “That was interesting…”
Ouch! South Africa isn’t meant to get too many earthquakes – I know you guys are near the African Rift System but it’s not TOO active as I understand it.
Last big one was in the Western Cape in 1969. That one had a magnitude of 6.3 and was directly below the town of Tulbagh. Just about levelled it.
Tremors caused by underground collapses are not uncommon in the mining regions, but they are usually very localised and of short duration. This one was severe enough for us to take notice.
At least it appears no miners were trapped after all. Several hundred houses were damaged near the epicentre, but mostly in poorer areas where they also weren’t built as well.
But it’s an eerie feeling. I don’t know how you guys in the major earthquake regions do it.
To some extent you get used to them, but the truth is that even in NZ, few people today have been through a really BIG earthquake. And those who have are certainly affected. In Christchurch, nerves have been shot to pieces by the relentless tremors – nobody knows whether every new aftershock is prelude to another big one or not. It’s generational; my grandparents’ generation suffered a succession of monolithic quakes – multiple events of magnitude 6.5 to 7.8 in a few years. Mine hasn’t – we’ve had plenty of mid-sized events, but nothing really huge, except Christchurch’s quakes, and until the Christchurch quake there was a lot of complacency.
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