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Gauteng residents jolted by strongest quake in years

Gauteng residents jolted by strongest quake in years
A quake measuring up to 5.0 was recorded in Guateng on Sunday morning, 10 June. (Image: iStock)

Around 2.38am on Sunday, Gauteng residents were disturbed by thunderous vibrations and shaking that turned out to have emanated from a quake measuring a magnitude of up to 5.0, making it the strongest to hit since April 2017. 

“I felt the house vibrating in a very strange and scary way, all the window and door panels shaking heavily, so scary that I thought the house was collapsing.”  

This was the experience of Benoni resident Sibongile Nxumalo, who told Daily Maverick of the impact of a quake measuring 5.0, recorded about 10km underground, according to the US geology survey M 2.2 – 6 km NNE of Bridge Creek, Oklahoma.

Locally, it was recorded at 4.4 by the South African National Seismograph Network (SANSN).

The earthquake occurred around 2.38am on Sunday, 11 June, originating near a mine in Boksburg, some 27km from Johannesburg, causing minimal structural damage in some parts. 

“The earthquake registered a local magnitude of approximately 4.4 as recorded by the South African National Seismograph Network (SANSN). The epicentre was located in the Boksburg area a few kilometers outside East Rand Proprietary mine (ERPM) in the East Rand of Johannesburg,” the Council for Geoscience said. 

This reporter, a resident of Johannesburg South, experienced the impact of the tremor, which felt like a moving train. I literally froze, stood still and waited for it to pass. It lasted a few seconds, but felt like five minutes. 

Some residents took to social media to share their experiences and the damage to their homes. 

Ekurhuleni EMS spokesperson, William Ntladi said no major incidents were reported. “However, there was a building that suffered minimal damage in Bedfordview, whereby a pub ceiling collapsed and we responded there and only to find there were no injuries or casualties. It was only the ceiling that collapsed.” 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Earthquake of magnitude 6.5 hits northern Afghanistan, killing at least three people 

Earthquakelist.org, a resource for earthquakes happening across the planet, said earthquakes of this strength were not very common in Afric, but noted it was not the first time it had taken place. 

“This is the strongest earthquake to hit since April 3rd, 2017, when a 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit 148km further west-southwest. An even stronger magnitude 5.4 earthquake struck on August 5th, 2014.

“In total, two earthquakes with a magnitude of 5 or higher have been registered within 300km (186 mi) of this epicentre in the past 10 years. This comes down to an average of once every five years,” the site states.  

International risk management group Crisis24 said that while no significant damage or casualties were expected, residents of multistory buildings should remain cautious.

“Out of an abundance of caution, consider vacating multistory buildings where shaking occurred until authorities confirm their structural integrity. Monitor and plan for aftershocks.” DM

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