By Nompumelelo Sibanda
SCIENTISTS at the US Geological Service agency (USGS) have reported a magnitude 4.3 quake in Zimbabwe near Chipinge, Manicaland.
The earthquake hit early evening on Monday 1 February 2021 at 6:55 pm local time at a shallow depth of 10 km.
The exact magnitude, epicenter, and depth of the quake might be revised within the next few hours or minutes as seismologists review data and refine their calculations, or as other agencies issue their report.
Towns or cities near the epicenter where the quake might have been felt as very weak shaking include Chipinge (pop. 18,900) located 69 km from the epicenter.
This is the second time a mild earthquake has hit Chipinge in three years. In December 2018, a 5.5 magnitude earthquake occurred 53km south-east of of Chipinge, affecting parts of Zimbabwe and neighbouring Mozambique.
“The 5.5 magnitude earthquake in Chipinge has left villagers scared and in panic especially in the Beacon area, with less strong rural buildings being destroyed,” the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) reported at the time
It said the earthquake had occurred at 7.40am, with Chipinge being the epicentre, while tremors were felt as far as Mutare, Masvingo and the capital, Harare.
According to the ZBC, the tremor affected at least 40 homesteads, destroying less strong buildings and granaries, and leaving cracks on some houses in the Beacon area of Chipinge, which is less than 2kms from the border with Mozambique.
Manicaland is a seismically active region as evidenced by many moderate to large earthquakes occurring every year.
The Meteorological Service Department of Zimbabwe has said that most earthquakes that occur in the region are due to natural plate tectonics and this is attributed to the East African rift system which extends to Mozambique. – Zimbabwe Voice 🔺