Botswana Earthquake - 9 May 2014

When I went online this morning I saw some comments on my Twitter timeline suggesting they had felt an earthquake in the Gaborone area.

First hit from Google didn’t show anything, but it’s unclear how the site sources it’s data, and also no information regarding possible magnitude of this morning’s event.  It does show that the region has a history of minor tremors with Maun and Mahalapye showing most activity (if 4 events above M1.5 in the last 19yrs can be classed as activity!).

Recent Earthquakes - Botswana/South Africa

Recent Earthquakes – Botswana/South Africa

Maun’s events can be explained by the Thamalakane Fault, generally considered to be responsible for the drying up of Lake Makgadikgadi in relatively recent times, I’m not so sure about Mahalapye.  That area hosts significant coal reserves that are as yet unexploited, with the diamond bearing intrusions around the perimeter (Jwaneng, Orapa, Lerala) and metals further north (Francistown, Selebi-Phikwe).  Maybe there are diamonds growing under our feet?

I know Botswana’s Department of Geological Surveys has some seismic monitoring stations, there is one near Toteng that I have seen.  This station is presumably monitoring the Thamalakane Fault area, but can’t find anything about it online.  It has a power supply and what maybe a small aerial, as well as a small camp.

Botswana Department of Geological Surveys - Toteng Seismic Monitoring Station

Botswana Department of Geological Surveys – Toteng Seismic Monitoring Station

Next source was the United States Geological Survey, bingo!  They have a number of stations in the region, one of which is between Lobatse and Gaborone.  This location showed a tremor at 0400UTC, which coincides with the reported time of 0600 local.  I later had confirmation from a friend that it was felt in Selebi-Phikwe.  The South African-based station also showed a lesser tremor with a slight delay, suggesting that the epicentre was closer to Lobatse/Gaborone than to Boshof (Kimberley).  Stations in Namibia and Zambia are inconclusive as far as my interpretation skills go.

Seismogram of 9 May 2014 Botswana Earthquake - Lobatse Station

Seismogram of 9 May 2014 Botswana Earthquake – Lobatse Station

Seismogram of 9 May 2014 Botswana Earthquake - Boshof Station

Seismogram of 9 May 2014 Botswana Earthquake – Boshof Station

 

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