5.3 magnitude quake shakes up Orkney

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IOL pic may5 quake seismic seismologist generic Reuters File picture: Fabrizio Bensch

Rustenburg - One person has been reported dead in a 5.3 magnitude earthquake which struck six kilometres east of Orkney in the North West on Tuesday. 

"A 31-year-old man was found deceased in an old mining village in Orkney, in the North West," said ER24 spokeswoman Luyanda Majija.

"He was found lying under some debris."

Emergency workers were at the mining village, searching for mineworkers presumed to be trapped in 11 shafts. Majija could not immediately confirm the name of the mine.

The tremors were felt in various parts of the country, shaking buildings, rattling windows and resulting in building evacuations.

The US Geological Survey said on its website "Earthquake report.com" the quake was felt as far off as Botswana.

"This earthquake is severely dangerous because the epicentre is located right below Orkney and Klerksdorp," it said.

It reported that severe shaking was felt in Klerksdorp and there was an unconfirmed report of a building that had collapsed, where people were trapped.

Another report on the website said a school building in Klerksdorp shook so badly that pupils were thrown off balance.

"Our school has three 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," said a pupil on the website.

"We are on the football field, damage (was) done to multiple classrooms."

Another person on the website reported that two children were injured at an Orkney mine, and that buildings were damaged.

The Council for Geosciences could not immediately be reached for comment.

The quake struck after midday on Tuesday, shaking buildings and rattling pictures in offices, including Sapa's headquarters in Greenside, Johannesburg.

People immediately took to social media to report it.

"Who else just felt the earthquake. That was a crazy... tremor," said Johannesburg resident Adrian Patrick on Facebook.

"Here in Durban too," responded Byron David.

Citizens from Johannesburg to KwaZulu-Natal, North West, and Cape Town reported feeling the quake.

Sapa's reporter in Durban said people in the 32-storey Durban Bay House, one of the tallest buildings in the city, were evacuated.

Hundreds of people were milling around Anton Lembede Street where the building is located in the city centre.

"I felt it. I thought I was going mad. I stood up and saw my colleagues rushing out," said Lungelo Xaba, who works on 17th floor of the building.

Johannesburg emergency services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said the tremor was felt in most parts of the city.

"The city has not received any reports of injuries, or collapsed building. However we will be monitoring the situation."

Engineering geologist Oliver Parker told eNCA that it was an earthquake, and went into details about the history of earthquakes on the sub-continent.

 

Sapa



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