Monday 23 January 2012

Earthquake shakes Lake Turkana in Kenya.

At roughly three minutes after midnight on Monday 23 January 2012, local time (three minutes after 9.00 pm on Sunday 22 January, GMT), the Lake Turkana region of Kenya was shaken by a quake that took place 15.2 km bellow the lake, and measured 5.2 on the Richter Scale, according to the United States Geological Survey. There have been no reports if any damage or casualties.

Map showing the location of the quake, from the United States Geological Survey.

Lake Turkana forms part of the East African Rift System, an emerging divergent margin along which Africa is slowly splitting in two. This new margin is a continuation of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Rifts that have already split Arabia away from Africa, and are now spreading ocean centers. In a few million years the African Plate will have completely divided into two new plates, dubbed the Nubian and Somali Plates by geologists. This system is responsible for the volcanoes of the Red Sea, the Afar Triangle in Eritrea and Ethiopia and Central and East Africa.

Elevation map of East Africa, showing the developing plate margins. Image from, based upon an elevation map made from Space Shuttle radar tomography by NASA.

The United States Geological Survey are keen to hear from anyone who felt this (or any other) Earthquake. If you did feel the quake you can report it here.