Wednesday, 11 August 2021


A 4,5 MAGNITUDE earthquake was felt in Binga in the early hours of Monday with the epicentre about 15km from Lake Kariba.

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) said the earthquake hit at around 3.39AM and there was no report of damage to property, death or injuries. In a statement, the MSD said the earthquake’s epicentre was Binga.

“An earthquake was felt in Binga today the 9th of August 2021 at 03:39hrs local time and the magnitude was determined to be 4,5. The epicentre is in Zimbabwe, Binga area about 15km from the lake. No reports of damage were received, however, more enquires would be made to determine its intensity in the locality and to determine the exact areas it was felt,” said the MSD.

It said officers at the Binga meteorological office and staff from Binga Lake Navigation indicated that they felt the vibrations and a number of people whom they talked to over the phone felt the earthquake in Binga.

MSD head of forecasting Mr James Ngoma said there are thousands of such tremours around Lake Kariba each year and some were not reported to the general public because their intensity is insignificant.

Only those whose magnitude is above 4,5 on the Richter scale are made public to alert the population.

“There was no major effect from it. In fact, such incidents are common in that area because of Lake Kariba. We have about 9 000 of such incidents in that area per year and most of them are not felt. The ones above 4,5 are dangerous so if we get such earthquakes we alert the public,” he said.

Mr Ngoma said earthquakes are also common in the eastern highlands because of the East-Africa rift valley.

Last year in April, 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.

They were all only felt around Kariba with the epicentre around the water body and no human injury or infrastructure damage were reported, according to MSD and the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA).

The earthquakes are referred to as load-induced tremours or reservoir-induced tremours in the case of Lake Kariba and are a result of the earth crust’s response to water load or weight given the size of the dam.

The reservoir-induced tremours have been occurring since 1963 when Lake Kariba started filling up.

ZRA which manages the water body however, said the tremours do not affect the structural integrity of the dam but as a precaution, the lake is inspected after each event. Herald


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