Quake possibly linked to mining - professor

Pretoria - The 5.5 magnitude earthquake that struck the North West earlier this month could possibly be linked to mining in the area, a University of Pretoria academic said on Monday.

"What might happen, after enough mining, we are creating stresses, more and more stresses, and they are propagating deeper and deeper," the university's Natural Hazard Centre director Professor Andrezj Kijko said.

"We are adding stresses to already existing stresses, tectonic components... and then we are triggering [an] earthquake.

"We are talking about accelerating earthquakes, just by mining," Kijko said.

In 1992, based on work and research done previously, it was stated that earthquakes would occur in the Klerksdorp region in the North West around every 10 years, not exceeding a magnitude of 5.6.

Kiljko, speaking at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, said while it was possible to predict how often earthquakes took place, predicting the where, when, and size was not possible.

Professor Ray Durrheim, the Wits/CSIR South African Research Chair in Exploration, Earthquake, and Mining Seismology, said it was not simple to deduce whether an earthquake was directly caused by mining or not.

"It's on a continuum, from where it's purely induced by mining activities to where you are triggering a natural earthquake," he said.

"There is no doubt, if you look at our mining areas, the number of magnitude-three events you see in a place like Carletonville is 1 000 times higher than you get in an equivalent area on the San Andreas fault [in California]."

Durrheim, Kijko and several others published a report in 2006 titled "The risks to miners, mines, and the public posed by large seismic events in the gold mining districts of South Africa".

This followed the 5.3 magnitude earthquake that struck the Klerksdorp area on 9 March 2005.

A 31-year-old man was killed in a mining village near Orkney on 5 August this year when the 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck the region.

At least 34 miners were injured by the earthquake, and more than 600 houses damaged.

Jack Thomas 2014-08-18 03:05:49 PM
As a professor your comments should be based on fact and not on opinions which include terms like "might" for example, the ANC might give up corruption.. how did this bull make it to n24? pfft!
Miles Lancmore 2014-08-18 03:15:16 PM
Stopping mining is not an option,and dying of an earthquake because of mining is not an option either.Mr professor don't just say out a problem without a solution.
Nin Ja Kitty 2014-08-18 03:15:51 PM
And just where did they find this genius. It was a foregone conclusion.
mmmmTim 2014-08-18 03:21:17 PM
I would be interested in this mans opinion on the effect of potholes on types - could there possibly be a link? So many "mights" and "possiblies". If you have an opinion, state it boldly, don't mess around because it renders the whole story meaningless and trivial. Just like all the "alleged" when the man has already been convicted.
Back2StoneAge 2014-08-18 03:51:16 PM
Too many people are demanding facts when the truth is nobody seems to know the real answer. While it may largely be speculation, this information comes from a reputable source and adds good value to what we already know so far (which is not much). It's certainly one of the better public news articles dealing with the cause of the quake that we've seen so far
Redphi 2014-08-18 05:35:33 PM
Duh, greedy mines disrupting fault lines , more to come ....
June Marks 2014-08-18 05:41:17 PM
Maybe he never read the articles about the Africa rift valley. I think perhaps this academic never saw the articles which stated Mining had nothing to do with the quake. I want to see his tests and degrees.
Gram Gram 2014-08-19 08:51:41 AM
Lol. These comment are hilarious. This poor guy gives an opinion based on knowledge that is not accessible to the general public and gets slaughtered by everyone that think they know better (even though they are not in the same field)!!!! LOL. Reminds me of a pack of dogs. One dog goes Woof............. then what!
Mark Cole 2014-08-22 07:15:10 AM
Matthew 24:7 For Nation will rise against nation,and kingdom against kingdom.And there will be famine ,pestilences and earthquakes in various places. We are in end times my friends.The professors KNOW NOTHING.