South Africa Earthquake

Deadly earthquake in South Africa in Orkney and Klerksdorp – 1 fatality and 38 injured

Last update: August 6, 2014 at 4:22 pm by By

Update August 6, 16:12 UTC : Thirty-four workers at AngloGold Ashanti’s Vaal river operations have been treated for minor injuries and released from hospital. To be added 3 people in a training center at the gold mine and 1 man in Orkney, brings our total to 38 injured people.

Update 18:25 UTC : An aftershock has frightened the population of Orkney again late this afternoon. No specific Magnitude has been given.

Update 17:08 UTC : The earthquake shaking damaged 400 houses!

Update 17:02 UTC : The shaking map as published by the USGS.  The max. theoretical shaking calculated by the USGS was MMI 6 or “strong shaking”. We however have the impression, based on the experience reports we have received, that the shaking as experienced in Orkney and Kerksdorp was MMI VII or very strong shaking.

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Update 16:05 UTC : AngloGold Ashanti, a mining company, said 17 employees at two mines in the Orkney region sustained minor injuries. Earlier in the day 3 people were slightly injured in a training venue from the gold mine and 1 man was rescued from below a collapsed house. A total of 21 injured people

Image courtesy and copyright @ANN7tv

Update 15:47 UTC : Seismicity in South Africa, an excerpt of a ReInsurance report :
The south-western Cape has one of the highest levels of seismicity in South Africa, which is characterized by its dual source of seismicity comprising mine related events and tectonic origin earthquakes.
According to new research from Professor Kijko, director of the Aon Benfield Natural Hazard Centre Africa, the Western Cape Province, with Cape Town as the capital city, can expect a maximum earthquake close to magnitude 7.0. By comparison, the largest mine related event in the Johannesburg gold mine area is estimated at magnitude 5.6.
Historically, the most severe earthquake of magnitude 6.3 occurred on 29 September 1969 in Ceres, 100 km northeast of Cape Town. The event resulted in 12 lost lives and numerous damaged buildings in the town of Tulbagh.
On 4 September 1809, a seismic event estimated at magnitude 6.3, occurred at the Milnerton Fault, a mere 10km from Cape Town CBD and the location of the Cape Town Stadium.
The largest mine related event in the history of South Africa occurred on 5 March 2005 in the Klerksdorp (Stilfontein) gold mining district, 200km west of Johannesburg, which reached a magnitude of 5.3. Below ground, substantial damage was observed within the mines, while above ground, the structural damage to property was relatively low.
South Africa Spotlight on Earthquake  Mining related events add a low magnitude, high frequency facet to earthquake risk in Johannesburg. It is also believed that accumulation of water within old mine shafts of several kilometres deep can trigger small, and occasionally moderate sized, seismic events.
The tectonic origin and mining related events are considered to be largely uncorrelated. As mining activity around Johannesburg diminishes with the depletion of gold reserves, so has the risk of mining induced seismic events originating below the city.
Based on this study, there is a very big chance that also this earthquake was Mining Induced and NOT tectonic. In other words a human triggered earthquake .
(Thank you Stéphane BAIZE for this related information.)

Update 15:28 UTC : The damage at the asphalt at the Waterbeesdam. Image via Twitter courtesy and copyright @MvanRyneveld. This kind of opening in the ground normally indicates a divergent or normal faulting earthquake (2 plates are pulling way from each other). Far too soon, as said earlier what the origin from the quake would be. Our map below shows however another quake who occurred right on the same spot on June 15 ! It was nearly as strong as this one but without being felt all  over South Africa. The June 15 one was shallower which explains in part the radius that is was felt. Click here for our report on June 15!

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Update 15:19 UTC : We are HAPPY tot report that NO MINERS are being trapped in the Orkney mines any longer.
Johannesburg:Paramedics on Tuesday confirmed no miners were trapped in mines around Orkney in the North West following an earthquake that shook the region.
ER24 officials who had been sent to one mine following reports that some miners were trapped in 11 shafts were standing down, said spokeswoman Luyanda Majija. “There are no entrapments. Most miners working in various mines have been brought out,” Majija said.” Most shafts have been evacuated.”Around 2.30pm, only one person had been confirmed dead. “A 31-year-old man was found deceased in an old mining village,” Majija said. “He was found lying under some debris. “The incident occurred close to the epicentre of the earthquake, recorded at a magnitude of 5.5 by the Council for Geosciences in SA. (Source : Africa News Network)

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Update 14:03 UTC : This was a violent earthquake for South African standards, but was “only” M5.3. We have to remark however that the shaking lasted extremely long for an earthquake from this Magnitude. Below an image from the damage in Orkney (courtesy and copyright News24).

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Update 13:29 UTC : The South Africa earthquake is the 4th deadly earthquake in only 8 days time!

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Update 13:12 UTC : The situation in the gold mine(s) shafts is far from sure. In 1 mine, everybody was safely brought at the surface, which is really great news.

Image courtesy and copyright @ER24potch - damage in Orkney

Update 12:57 UTC : We are of course far from sure but the source of the earthquake may not be mining induced but tectonic based on the experience reports we receive from the direct epicenter area and the fact that this earthquake was felt in a 500 km radius.

Update 12:54 UTC : Every I HAVE FELT IT REPORT we receive from Klerksdorp and Orkney describes damage. This will be by far the most damaging earthquake in South-Africa since a long time.

Update 12:54 UTC : An impressive Experience Report from  an ER reader living in Orkney, the direct epicenter

I could hear it coming.. at first I thought it was just the normal mining operations but then when it hit us, the whole house was shaking and stuff started falling out of the cupboards and off shelfs. I stormed outside to see if my 75 year old father was okay and I found him in the garden. The quake knocked him off his feet and his head hit a rock in the garden. He was in total shock but he is okay. My house is full of cracks. Scary !!

Update 12:28 UTC : 3 people were hurt at a training center in the Orkney Gold mine

Update 12:08 UTC : Some mineworkers at Orkney in the North West were trapped following an earth tremor on Tuesday, said emergency workers. ER24 spokesperson Luyanda Majija said they had received reports that the tremor has had a significant impact on one mine (source:
Old buildings, old mining houses have collapsed, lots of debris, says ER24′s Werner Vermaak

Image courtesy and copyright @Noxy_Duma

Update 1200 UTC : We have now confirmation that  a man in his 30′s was killed in the Orkney/Klerksdorp

Update 11:44 UTC : We have unconfirmed reports of 1 fatality. A man was caught by a collapsing wall in Orkney, the direct epicenter area

Image courtesy and copyright @power987news

Update 11:44 UTC : Some people are trapped below a collapsed building in Orkney

Update 11:43 UTC : We have still server problems due to too many concurrent users. We apologize for that.

Update 11:36 UTC : There are now unconfirmed reports that a building has collapsed in Klerksdorp

Small glass breaking damage at the Clock Tower of Klerksdorp

Update 11:34 UTC : Klerksdorp :    Massive shaking was working under vehicle when it started moving in the air ! A bunch of businessess roofs fell in and evaquated

Update 11:33 UTC : At least 2 minors have been injured in the Orkney mine + damage reported on buildings (mainly cracks, no collapses)

Update 11:31 UTC : Klerksdorp : Our entire school building shook and we were thrown off balance. Our school has 3 storeys and I was in the middle when it shook, we dove for the door along with our geography teacher and we were told to evacuate the building. We are on the football field, damage done to multiple classrooms.

Update 11:06 UTC : The earthquake has been felt as far as Durban and Cape Town. Offices were evacuated in Durban and Johannesburg. Our biggest concern is now the many mines and their underground workers in the area.

Important message : Due to the too high demand our servers have a hard time to cope.

Update 10:49 UTC : This report came in a couple of moments ago from Kerksdorp, the direct epicenter area, mentioning severe shaking

No structural damage so far. No electricity. Photo frames falling off walls and breaking. Hope the mines in vicinity is ok but doubt it.

Update 10:39 : This earthquake is severely dangerous because the epicenter is located right below Orkney and Klerksdorp.  The breaking point is extremely shallow, which increases the risk on damage a lot.

BREAKING NEWS: We have detected a strong readers increase in Johannesburg, which normally indicates that an earthquake was felt. Are you one of the people who felt the shaking of this earthquake ? If yes, may we kindly request you to let us know what you have felt and if you have damage or not. Please use the form below.
Update 10:30 UTC  : The earthquake was also felt in Botswana, no other details yet
Update 10:35 UTC : Preliminary data is showing a Magnitude 6.0 (Geofon), which is for sure a damaging earthquake if true. Epicenter is located (preliminary) in Klerksdorp

6km (4mi) E of Orkney, South Africa
15km (9mi) S of Stilfontein, South Africa
16km (10mi) SSE of Klerksdorp, South Africa
32km (20mi) NW of Viljoenskroon, South Africa
199km (124mi) SW of Pretoria, South Africa

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144 km SW of Soweto, South Africa / pop: 1,695,047 / local time: 12:22:36.4 2014-08-05
18 km SE of Orkney, South Africa / pop: 145,801 / local time: 12:22:36.4 2014-08-05

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 5.4

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2014-08-05 12:22:36

GMT/UTC Time : 2014-08-05 10


Deadly earthquake in South Africa in Orkney and Klerksdorp – 1 fatality and 38 injured