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Pasha 89: Talking about earthquakes in South Africa

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Earthquakes are quite rare on the African continent. But that’s not to say that one couldn’t hit and be damaging. Recently the Western Cape region of South Africa saw some earthquake activity, though it’s unusual and was low on the scale that measures earthquakes. There is always a risk that a larger one could hit the region. Why do they occur? Is South Africa prepared? What about potential damage to the nuclear power plant in the region?

In today’s episode of Pasha, Ray Durrheim, research chair in exploration, earthquake & mining seismology at the University of the Witwatersrand, answers these questions. He also recalls South Africa’s biggest recorded natural earthquake, around 50 years ago, and sets out some of the disaster measures the country would have to take in the event that a big one struck.

Read more: We’ve learnt a great deal since South Africa’s biggest quake 50 years ago

Photo: A stamp printed in South Africa around 1974 shows restored houses and a church in Tulbagh. This follows the 1969 earthquake which damaged that town. Photo by Boris15 Shutterstock.

“Happy African Village” by John Bartmann, found on FreeMusicArchive.org licensed under CC0 1.

“Elk”, by Meydän found on FreeMusicArchive.org licensed under Attribution License..

“Earthquakes demolition” by bbc.co.uk found on BBC Sound Effects licensed under Remarc