4.9 magnitude earthquake off South African coastline

An earthquake registering 4.9 magnitude on the Richter scale took place 2000 km south of Jeffreys Bay on Sunday 9 April 2017.

The earthquake was recorded about 4.10am at the Anna De Koningh Seamount and the Du Toit fracture zone.

It occurred at a depth of approximately 10 km, according to the United States Geological Survey.

In a study compiled by the Council of Geoscience in 2011, on a global scale South Africa is considered a stable region, because it is located away from boundaries between tectonic plates.

What are the chances of an earthquake affecting Jeffreys Bay?

There are no recorded earthquakes having taken place in Jeffreys Bay, with the earliest earthquakes being recorded in Port Elizabeth.

One of the earliest recorded earthquakes struck at 10.15pm on Tuesday, 21 May 1850.

The shock was not very severe, but “sufficient to alarm the more nervous members of our population and to awaken from their first slumbers those who had retired at a very early hour to rest,” reported the Eastern Province Herald.

The earth shook for about a minute and those inside their homes described the shaking as though it was a very violent wind. The newspaper reported that there had never been an earthquake in the young town before.

Article continues below...

“The shock was felt most severely towards the north and west ends of the town. It was sufficient in these quarters to move lighter articles, such as glasses, mantle-piece ornaments, etc, from their places,” the Herald reported.

In January 1900, a quake was felt in the Tsitsikamma area strong enough to dislodge crockery from shelves in some houses. Another tremor was felt in Port Elizabeth in 1912.

At 3am on January 12, 1968, a tremor shook the Eastern and Southern Cape and was felt in Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Mossel Bay and Graaff-Reinet.

It lasted about two minutes and was hard enough in Uitenhage to cause furniture to move and pictures to fall from the walls of homes.

The worst earthquake to hit South Africa struck on September 29, 1969, when nine people were killed in the areas of Tulbagh, Prince Albert, Ceres and Wolseley during a 6.5 magnitude earthquake.