Earth tremor hits Hwange
Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Reporter
THE earth tremor that was felt by residents in Hwange town on Sunday night was as a result of a minor earthquake whose epicentre was Lubimbi area in Binga, weather experts have said.
The earthquake had a magnitude of 4.0 and no damages to property were recorded.
Mr Austin Masikinye the Matabeleland North Province chief meteorological officer said of the preliminary location: “An earthquake was felt in Hwange and Binga on March 5, 2023 at 2309hrs local time. The epicentre is in Binga, Lubimbi area near Kamativi. No reports of damage were received, however, more enquiries would be made to determine its intensity in the locality and to determine the exact areas it was felt.”
Residents in almost all Hwange town suburbs were rattled by underground movements on Sunday night.
Ms Nolwandle Moyo from Ngumija said her family was at home watching television when they suddenly felt an unusual movement from below the surface just after 10pm.
“We wondered what it was but at the same time very scared, we felt something moving below our house, fortunately nothing was damaged, the house didn’t crack and our property remained intact,” she said.
Ms Prisca Mpofu, a resident of Cinderella township, about 10km from Ngumija said she felt the tremor at about the same time and was temporarily confused as she didn’t know what was happening.
“For a moment I thought it was a blast from one of the mines here in Hwange but I suddenly felt something beneath the surface moving and windows shaking, it was brief but very telling,” she said.
Hwange Local Board spokesperson Mr Dumisani Nsingo, who stays in Empumalanga said he felt strange underground movements at around 1030pm.
“I suddenly remembered the unfortunate events in Turkey and became very scared but thank God the intensity was minimal,” said Mr Nsingo.
Last month a catastrophic earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck South-Eastern Turkey, leaving a devastating impact on the region.
The quake hit the area near the Syrian border, taking the lives of 1 500 people and injuring several others as they slept. A month later the death roll now stands at 45 968.
Former Hwange coach David Phiri who stays in Lwendulu said he was about to retire for bed during half-time of a football match he was watching when he felt the underground movement.
The MSD has said earthquakes are common in the Zambezi and eastern highlands because of the East-Africa rift valley and the large water body at Kariba.
MSD head of forecasting, Mr James Ngoma said seismic tremors are common in the Kariba area due to the large water body that causes some slight movements in the underground plates.
“Kariba is in a seismic tremor area, so now and again earthquakes are recorded. Those below 2.5 on the Richter scale may not be felt by humans but our machines regularly pick on those. Earthquakes of between 2.5 and 4.5 on the scale are usually felt but we consider them to be minor and cannot cause damage. Anything above that is of concern,” said Mr Ngoma.
In 2020, areas around Lake Kariba were hit by five moderate earthquakes in a week, two of them measuring 4,0 on the Richter scale while the other three were minor ranging from 3,0 to 3,5 in magnitude.
Last year in January a 3.9 magnitude earthquake whose epicentre was Matobo district was felt in Bulawayo and large areas in Matabeleland North and South.
In May of that year, Binga recorded a 4.8 magnitude earthquake with another measuring 4.5 striking three months later. – @skhumoyo2000