Very rare M6.0 earthquake hits near the coast of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.0 hit near the coast of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania at 17:13 UTC on August 12, 2020. The agency is reporting a depth of 15.5 km (9.6 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.0 at a depth of 15 km (9.3 miles).

The epicenter was located 66.6 km (41.4 miles) ESE of Vikindu (population 23 307), 67.2 km (41.7 miles) NNE of Kilindoni (population 12 409), 70.2 km (43.6 miles) ESE of Mkuranga (population 28 037), and 81.8 km (50.8 miles) SE of Dar es Salaam (population 2 698 652), Tanzania.

There are about 5 320 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

59 000 people are estimated to have felt moderate shaking and 7 398 000 light.

Image credit: TW/SAM, Google

The USGS issued a green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are mud wall with wood and informal (metal, timber, GI etc.) construction.

Earthquakes in this region, especially of this magnitude, are very rare.

Many people reported feeling the earthquake, especially along the coast and on nearby islands. It was felt as far as 600 km (372 miles) to the NW.

According to Volcano Discovery, people near the epicenter reported that the quake came in two waves – around 8 to 10 seconds of vibration followed by a 2-second long shock.

This was the strongest earthquake in the region since September 2016, when M5.9 struck northwest Tanzania, killing at least 17 people and injuring more than 400.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google


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