December 5, 2020

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Cape Town ‘earthquake’: Six vital things to know about Tuesday’s tremor

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Just before 00:30 on Tuesday, Cape Town was hit by a small-scale earthquake. Many slept through the incident, whereas the night-owls of the southwest were rocked by the seismic shocker. The relevant authorities have since spoken out on the matter, giving us a crucial update on the latest tremor to visit the Mother City.

Cape Town earthquake: Latest updates on the tremor for Tuesday 17 November

Where was the epicentre in Cape Town?

The seismic event took place 60km off of the coastline of Cape Town. Its epicentre was reported to be near the Saldhana Bay region. It is not uncommon for this type of tremor to occur in the sea.

How strong was this ‘earthquake’?

Preliminary reports had the quake down as a 3.5 magnitude event. The South African Council for Geoscience (CGS) recorded it at 3.4. Either way, this particular earth-shaking incident was stronger than the other tremors reported in Cape Town this year.

The difference between an earthquake and a tremor

Although the CGS has referred to this incident as an ‘earthquake’ in their official statement, anything under 4.0 on the Richter Scale is generally known as a tremor. The organisation posted a statement on the matter on Tuesday morning, explaining that there has so far been no damage reported due to the seismic activity.

Link to previous tremors

Dr. David Khoza is the Executive Manager of Applied Geosciences at the CGS. He has confirmed that there is no connection between this tremor and the events that rocked Cape Town back in September:

The same fault lines we see happening onshore, happen offshore. In this case, it was probably one of those fault lines that moved a little bit and that is what caused the tremor. There is no link to the previous tremor.”

Dr. David Khoza

Chances of a tsunami in Cape Town dismissed

The CGS has urged Capetonians ‘not to panic’. No tsunami warning has been triggered by this so-called earthquake, and given that their statement came seven hours after the incident, it seems any potential danger has already been and gone.

What to do during a tremor?

Appearing on CapeTalk earlier this morning, Dr Khoza gave the following advice to the listeners:

Try and stand closer to the wall. Go down on your hands and knees underneath the tables. And if you are outside, avoid being close to windows as those tend to crack. If you are driving, we recommend you just stop the car and wait until the shaking has passed.

Dr. David Khoza

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