Sunday 25 September 2016

Burundi Earthquake causes at least two fatalities.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 4.8 Earthquake at a depth of 10 km, in the northwest of Cibitoke Province of northwestern Burundi, close to the border with Rwanda, slightly before 6.10 pm local time (slightly before 4.10 pm GMT) on Friday 23  September 2016. There have been at least two fatalities following this event, and at least five injuries, as well as a large number of building collapses; the damage has been more severe than would be expected for an event of this size, largely because it occurred in an area where Earthquakes this large are rare and few if any buildings are Earthquake proofed. People have reported feeling the event across the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as most of Rwanda and Burundi, though the fatalities and injuries have all been reported in the Congo.

Damage following the 23 September 2016 Cibitoke Province Earthquake. BBC/Earthquake Report.

Burundi lies within the the of the Great Rift Valley, which is slowly splitting the African Plate in two along a line from the Red Sea through Ethiopia, and which includes the great lakes and volcanoes of east-central Africa. This has the potential to open into a new ocean over the next few tens of millions of years, splitting Africa into two new, smaller, continents; Nubia to the west and Somalia to the east.

  Movement on the African Rift Valley, with associated volcanoes. Rob Gamesby/Cool Geography.

Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.
 The approximate location of the 23 September 2016 Cibitoke Earthquake. Google.
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