Chirundu Experiences 4.6 Earthquake, Damage To Kariba Dam Wall?

Chirundu, Zambia, Zimbabwe earthquake epicenter16.046°S 28.555°E depth=10.0 km (6.2 mi): USGS.gov

An earthquake measuring 4.6 on the Richter Scale was experienced in the Chirundu area in Zambia, at 5:05 AM on Saturday 9 January 2016 just 31 km west of the border post.

The epicenter was at a depth of 10 km (this is the distance from the ground’s surface to where the earthquake took place). The tremor was ‘light and moderate’ according to the scale and was felt in most parts of Lusaka and Southern provinces of Zambia with no structural damage being reported. Information of the impact on the Zimbabwean side is yet to be established (UPDATE: see bottom of post).

According to Wikipedia, an earthquake of the magnitude of 4.6 on the Richter Scale will experience

noticeable shaking of indoor objects and rattling noises. Felt by most people in the affected area. Slightly felt outside. Generally causes none to minimal damage. Moderate to significant damage very unlikely. Some objects may fall off shelves or be knocked over.

The concern for Zimbabweans will be to the effect that this will have on the Kariba dam wall, as it occurred 58 km NNW from the water body that is a major source of hydro electrity, which itself is already faced with its own challenges of low dam levels. This is the first earthquake that the region has experienced in 4 years, the 19th in 31 years.

Were you in the Kariba/Chirundu area on the day and time in question? Did you feel the earthquake? What was the impact?

UPDATE: The Zambezi River Authority confirmed the incident, with their chief executive officer, Mr Munyaradzi Munodawafa saying that the infrastructure at Kariba was safe and the dam wall was not affected. A full assessment of the earthquake was still underway, with a full report expected soon.

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