Johannesburg, South Africa — The bustling city of Johannesburg was rattled by a series of three tremors within a nine-hour span on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, according to preliminary data collected by the SA National Seismograph Network. This is the latest in a series of seismic events that have hit the city in recent months, raising questions about the underlying causes.
The Tremor Timeline
The first tremor, which struck at 21:24 local time on Wednesday in the Doornkop area, was recorded with a magnitude of 3.2. The Council for Geoscience confirmed the event, stating that its magnitude was approximately 3.0. Just 13 minutes later, a second tremor was detected in Randfontein, measuring a magnitude of 2.7. Finally, a third tremor shook Meadowlands at 05:57 on Thursday morning with a magnitude of 2.2.
No Major Damage, but Concerns Linger
Mahlatse Mononela, spokesperson for the Council for Geoscience, reassured residents that tremors of these magnitudes generally do not cause major structural damage. However, she revealed that eight aftershocks were also recorded, the main one measuring 2.3, while the others ranged between 0.2 and 0.8 in magnitude.
Robert Mulaudzi, a spokesperson for Emergency Services, confirmed that Wednesday night's first tremor was felt in most parts of the city but said that no incidents were reported to the Emergency Call Centre.
A Pattern of Quakes
It is worth noting that Johannesburg has been experiencing several seismic events in recent months. News24 reported last week that a third earthquake had rocked the city in as many weeks. One of the largest seismic events recorded was on 11 June, in the Boksburg area on the East Rand, with a magnitude of 4.4 on the Richter scale.
Mining Activities Under Scrutiny
The recurrent seismic activity has brought attention to the city's mining activities, often cited as a contributing factor. While Johannesburg is historically a gold-mining town, experts are now exploring whether ongoing and past mining could be contributing to the increasing frequency of seismic events.
The Role of Social Media
In the age of instant communication, social media platforms have amplified residents' concerns, leading to a surge of inquiries and debates about what's causing these tremors. The Council for Geoscience has been vigilant in updating the public through their website and is expected to release more detailed studies on the recent events.
While the tremors recorded this week were not severe, their frequency is causing concern among residents and experts alike. Investigations into the causes are ongoing, but the eyes of many are focused on Johannesburg's extensive mining history as a possible explanation.