Sunday 11 March 2018

Magnitude 5.6 Earthquake in Nsanje Ditrict, southern Malawi.

The United States Geological Survey Recorded a Magnitude 5.6 Earthquake at a depth of 6.4 km about 25 km to the northeast of the town of Nsanje in Nsanje District, Malawi, slightly before 10.50 am local time (slightly before 8.50 am GMT) on Thursday 8 March 2018. The initial event was followed after about three minutes by a Magnitude 5.2 aftershock. There are no reports of any fatalities associated with this event, though a number of buildings have been damaged, including a school in Dinde where two children were injured. The event was felt across much of Malawi, as well as parts of northern Mozambique.

A damaged building in Malawi following the 8 March 2018 Earthquake. Earthquake Report.

Malawi 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.

 The approximate location of the 8 March 2018 Nsanje Earthquake. USGS.

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.

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

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