Western Cape government calls for calm
The Western Cape government said in a statement: …a magnitude 6.2 Earthquake struck approximately 1600 km south-east of South Africa. Following the event, tremors were felt in various Western Cape suburbs with no reports of casualties or damages to infrastructure, and no tsunami warning was issued.
Tremors were again experienced in several suburbs with no reports of casualties or damages to infrastructure, and no tsunami warning was issued.
The Council of Geoscience (CGS), have issued media statements pertaining to the tremors that occurred, urging the public not to panic as the are no imminent threats to public safety.
The CGS is the custodian of the South African National Seismograph Network which monitors seismic wave activities throughout the country.
According to the Council for Geoscience, the difference between an earthquake and an earth tremor lies in the magnitude of the event. Within the South African context, a seismic event with a magnitude lower than 4.0 is considered a tremor.
The Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell says recent seismic activity in Cape Town is no cause for panic.
“We’re fortunate in the fact that the African continent is on a very stable tectonic plate. We do not have major fault lines. Specifically, Southern Africa is on a very stable faultline. This means our risk for earthquakes and tsunamis are very low. While there is always some seismic risk, we don’t believe there is a real threat for a mega earthquake of seven or more on the Richter scale in the Western Cape. While we can never rule it out completely, the science doesn’t support it. It also bears noting that a 7 on the Richter scale is considered to be 33 times stronger than a 6.”
Bredell says the nuclear plant Koeberg, which would be most at risk to major seismic activity, was built to withstand a lot of seismic activity including being built on shock-absorbers.
“Furthermore, the Western Cape government, over the past ten years, has developed an excellent disaster response system to save people from trapped buildings in a disaster situation should the need arise. At the moment we have two caches of highly specialised rescue equipment.”
Western Cape disaster teams are often called to assist with global crises, gaining invaluable experience that can be applied locally.