Germiston quake 'likely' mining-related

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Cape Town – The earthquake that shook Germiston and surrounding areas in the early hours of Wednesday morning was likely related to mining practices, according to a local seismology expert.

Michelle Grobbelaar, manager of the seismology unit at the Council for Geoscience, could not confirm with 100% certainty that it was mining-related, but said that it was “likely”.

“It is likely related to abandoned mines. In the past, with much mining activity, tremors occurred more regularly,” she told News24.

Grobbelaar described "water ingress" as a highly probable scenario where the natural water table fills up.

“When water comes into rocks it lubricates the joints causing fractures to slip thereby causing earthquakes,” she said.

According to Grobbelaar the public may be at risk if the ground movement affects buildings.

“In seismology, intensity scale depends on the quality or construction of the building... one can get destruction at a small magnitude,”she added.

Research is being carried out in an attempt to stabilise water movement.

At the surface level micro-zonation studies seeks to identify areas where damage would be the worst and thereafter informing disaster risk management efforts.

The public will be encouraged to complete an online questionnaire which will help seismologists get an accurate location of the earthquake’s epicentre.

The earthquake measured 3.4 on a local magnitude scale, which is equivalent to the Californian Richter scale.


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