earthquake cape town faultline

Photo: Pixabay

Cape Town earthquake latest: ‘Historic faultline’ comes under scrutiny

Tremors, earthquakes, shocks: There has been some volatile seismic activity in Cape Town this weekend – and attention has turned to a significant faultline.

earthquake cape town faultline

Photo: Pixabay

A fair few of us have woke up shaking on a Sunday morning before this weekend – but it’s likely this is the first time it has been caused by a seismic event. Cape Town has been rocked by a follow-up tremor on Sunday, just hours after a reported earthquake rumbled houses and made the ground move in select areas of the municipality.

Cape Town has a major faultline – and of course, Eskom has put a power plant on it…

Earthquakes are a particularly rare event in Cape Town, but they are not unheard of. That’s because the Mother City rests upon ‘The Milnerton Faultline’. It runs from offshore along the West Coast right past Koeberg, through Milnerton, and into the Cape Flats. Three significant earthquakes have hit Cape Town due to this fault, including a 6.5 monster in 1809.

Of course, the last thing you’d want atop one of these faultlines is a nuclear power plant. But you know Eskom, they don’t do things the easy way. Their Koeberg facility is bang in the middle of this troublesome tectonic location. However, the robustness of the plant means that small tremors – such as the ones experienced this weekend – have no effect.

Worst earthquakes to ever hit South Africa

Although the City of Cape Town is also affected by the meeting of the African Plate and the Antarctic Plate – where the 6.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded on Saturday – it’s uncommon for any shifts to impact Cape Town, let alone damage any infrastructure. The threat of a tsunami as a result of these tremors remains extremely low.

Tulbagh, a region on the outskirts of Cape Town, is home to the most devastating earthquake ever recorded in South Africa. The rumbling was a result of strike-slip faulting along a NW-SE trending near-vertical fault plane. The 6.3 magnitude quake is the strongest to ever hit our shores, and with an inland epicentre, it became our deadliest seismic event – 12 people lost their lives in September 1969.

In the past 18 months, both Johannesburg and Durban have been rattled by earthquakes. The cities recorded tremors between 3 to 4 on the Richter Scale. No major damage was reported here, but the extreme event shook the respective locals.