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10 December 2011

Update: Earthquake West Coast, South Africa - Paternoster Area (08 December 2011 21h25 SAST)

Image: Google Maps (Click on image for larger view.)

Earthquake Details: West Coast of South Africa

  • This event has not been reviewed by a seismologist.
RegionWest Coast of South Africa

Location Uncertainty  No fixed detail of earthquake


SAWDIS - Confirmation of this event was received from several members of the public living in Paternoster and near the West Coast. It is however a great pity that the South African public are deprived from free earthquake information. The SAWDIS was inundated with requests from the public to provide more information about the tremor. Of specific interest to the public is the magnitude the tremor registered on the Richter-scale. Unfortunately this information is not freely available to the public anymore after the Council for Geoscience South Afric decided to remove this information from their web-pages. The SAWDIS expressed it's dismay at the decision of the Council for Geoscience for withholding free earthquake information from the general public. South Africa appears to be the only size-able country that withholds free earthquake information from it's citizens. The SAWDIS do not know what magnitude this tremor was that struck the West Coast region. The SAWDIS is however in the process to build a seismometer for the Southern Cape area and thanks to individual commitment, members of the public have already installed private seismometers in other respective areas. These instruments cost money and financing has to be found to roll out the project to other parts of the country.

The SAWDIS would like to thank all those who send in reports of the tremor to the SAWDIS. It is really hart-warming to know that communities can rely on individuals to report weather and disaster incidents in their respected areas. The SAWDIS would like to say a special word of thanks to the first responder (Marion and Deon from Paternoster) after the tremor occurred .

Word of advise: It is not known whether this tremor is a pre-shock to a major earthquake. Earthquakes fall into 3 categories. Some have fore-shocks, some show subtle signs, and others have aftershocks. Earthquakes are still not predictable. Some have no warning at all and never show any signs of happening. The third group follow no pattern at all, they go seemingly randomly, and they can not even be estimated. It is very hard to tell which fault will be in which group, and this is why prediction is still impossible. The designation of an earthquake as fore-shock, main-shock or after-shock is therefor only possible after the main event.

Up to now the cause of the tremor is still unknown but the SAWDIS would like to advise members of the public to report any further seismic activity directly to the SAWDIS.

Reports received by the SAWDIS:

Marion and Deon from Paternoster writes: "Just a few minute ago, approx 21.25 on 08 December 2011 we felt a rumbling and earth shake in Paternoster- West Coast. Was this possibly an earthquake? Probably 2 to 3 on Richterscale. It started off with a low rumble which increased intensity for a few seconds and then dissipated.

Graham Vincent writes: I also felt a tremor/rumbling at the same time as the Paternoster people. I was in Jacobsbaai, and it either a huge explosion far away or an earth tremor.

Heinrich Clarke writes: Hi I felt the same thing and everyone I’m  talking to felt it in Paternoster last night.

SP Geldenhuys writes: We also felt a rumbling last night in Vredenburg. It came from far but as it came closer die floor creaked and then it was gone. Alot of my friends also felt it

SAWDIS We also felt the earthquake at about 9h25 in Vredenburg about 20km from Paternoster. 0bs ?

SAWDIS We are also in Paternoster and felt and heard it. Friends in St Helena also experienced it. Obs Anneke Wiese

SAWDIS Yes indeed, we at Voorstrandt Restaurant the earth shake. Was very small and quick. Why isn't there more reports of what it could have been?

SAWDIS RT @Dullsweather: @SAWDIS Friend felt shudder in Velddrif (WC). Was not sure what it was. Of interest

SAWDIS St helena bay also felt tremor...what about checking with Koeberg power station...maybe they have seismic instruments...

SAWDIS RT @AdrianaStuijt: St helena bay also felt tremor check with nearby Koeberg nuclear station.: do they have seismic instruments