Gwanda Mayor Councillor Njabulo Siziba
Lumbidzani Dima and Austin Nyathi, Chronicle Reporters
A 3,9 magnitude earthquake hit Bulawayo and some parts of Matabeleland South on Tuesday night, causing panic and sending some people in Gwanda, Plumtree and Maphisa into the streets to investigate.
Many others took to social media and residents association groups to talk about the occurrence. Some were not aware that they had experienced an earthquake.
In a statement, Meteorological Services Department (MSD) confirmed that an earthquake was felt in Gwanda, Kezi, Plumtree, Matobo, some parts of Bulawayo and surrounding areas on Tuesday at 9.37pm.
“The determined earthquake parameters show that the earthquake occurred at Latitude -21.143S and Longitude 28.472E and the Magnitude was 3.9.
The epicentre is in Matobo District about 20km from Maphisa, 40km from Gwanda town, about 25km from Kezi, about 100km from Bulawayo, 100km from Plumtree but it was widely felt in Matabeleland South Province and some parts of Bulawayo Metropolitan,” read the statement.
It said an earthquake with a magnitude of between 2.5 to 5.4 is felt, but causes minor damage.
According to the statement, MSD officers at Kezi, Matopos and Plumtree Meteorological offices, indicated that a number of people whom they talked to in their areas felt the earthquake.
“Mr Munyira the Provincial Meteorological Chief for Matabeleland South also felt the shaking and he has also received some reports from people who felt the earthquake in Gwanda town and some other parts of the province,” read the statement.
MSD head of forecasting, Mr James Ngoma said the earthquake was a result of water from tropical storm Ana which sank into the fault lines.
“We had tropical depression Ana which affected much of the country giving us rainfall across the Eastern and North Eastern parts of the country covering Manicaland as well as Mashonaland East.
Most of this water sank into our fault lines giving us a tremor that was felt in Matopo district at 3,9 magnitude on the richter scale. It was felt in areas such as Gwanda and Tsholotsho as well as Bulawayo and other surrounding areas,” said Mr Ngoma.
Gwanda mayor, Councillor Njabulo Siziba said he felt it and it terrified him.
“As for me and my family, we were very traumatised when we felt the house shaking.
It was after 9pm, and the earthquake was the least expected thing to occur in our minds.
We would really like to find out what caused it, we are just thankful that I haven’t heard of any damages caused so far,” he said.
Maphisa Roman Catholic priest Father Innocent Ndlovu said the eathquake was very intense as he could feel his whole house shaking.
“The silence of Tuesday night was suddenly broken by a very huge sound that shook my room, I then felt that the whole house was shaking.
I almost ran out of the house but then I thought to myself that if it’s an earthquake it would pass in a few seconds, so for that reason I stayed in bed keeping a special ear and eye to what could happen,” he said.