Botswana hit by second earthquake in two days | News | DW | 05.04.2017
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Botswana hit by second earthquake in two days

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck Botswana, two days after a 6.5 magnitude quake shook the southern African nation. The earlier earthquake was felt in South Africa.

The 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck at 2:55 a.m. local time (0055 GMT) in a remote part of Botswana north of the capital, Gaborone, the US Geological Survey said.

The shallow tremor was only 6.2 miles (10 km) deep.  

On Monday, Botswana was struck by its second-biggest recorded earthquake when a magnitude 6.5 tremor shook an isolated area 250 km (155 miles) northwest Gaborone. That earthquake was felt in the capital, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland.  

No immediate information was available as to how the communities fared, but some minor casualties and structural damages were reported as far as 130 kilometers away from the earthquake's epicenter.

Strong earthquakes are rare in southern Africa and extremely rare in Botswana. The earthquake occurred over a thousand kilometers from the nearest tectonic plate boundary and consequently is called by scientists an "intraplate" earthquake. It has been suggested that the rupture occurred partly due to the gradual transfer of push and pull stresses from the East African Rift towards the more stable part of the continent. 

Villages and mines

Moiyabana village, 132 kilometers west of the quake's epicenter, was the only village reported to have been damaged by the quake. Students at the village's secondary school fled the school after the quake.

"As the earthquake happened during study time, a stampede broke out as everyone tried to escape and minor injuries were experienced," Tebogo Modiakgotla, spokesman for the local authority, said.  

The spokesman could not say if there had been any damage to the mines, or their surrounding communities, near the towns of Jwaneng, such as the Gaghoo Diamond mine. 

The last time the country experienced any such quake was in 1952 when a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit Maun in the northern part of the country.

cw/jm (AFP, Reuters)

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