Council for Geoscience probing whether mining caused Gauteng earthquake

Senior reporter

The Council for Geoscience (CGS) is investigating whether mining activity or fluctuations in groundwater levels caused the earthquake that shook large parts of Gauteng early on Sunday.

Gauteng residents were left shaken after the seismic activity, which took place about 2.38am.

Hours after the earthquake occurred the CGS confirmed it measured about 4.4 in magnitude.

According to Michigan Technological University in the US, an earthquake of between 2.5 and 5.4 is “often felt but only causes minor damage”.

The CGS said in a statement the earthquake’s epicentre “was located in the Boksburg area a few kilometres outside East Rand Proprietary Mine, in the East Rand of Johannesburg”.

According to mining data website, the mine was established in 1893 and was, during its history one of the largest and deepest gold mines in the world. In 1993, mining was at a level of 3,430m below surface.

“The earthquake registered a local magnitude of approximately 4.4 as recorded by the South African Seismograph Network (SANSN).”

Mahlatse Mononela, CGS spokesperson, told TimesLIVE it is difficult at this stage to say what the exact cause was.

“But given its shallow depth, it might be mining-related seismicity or due to fluctuations in groundwater levels. This said, the CGS is investigating this further.”

The council encouraged residents to record their experiences on a questionnaire available on its website.