Deadly M5.5 earthquake hits Lake Rukwa, Tanzania

A shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M5.5 hit Lake Rukwa region of southwestern Tanzania at 09:15 UTC (12:15 local time) on March 21, 2019, at a depth of 22 km (13.6 miles). EMSC is reporting M5.1 at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles).

The epicenter was located about 52 km (33 miles) E of Sumbawanga (population 89 161), 76 km (47 miles) N of Laela (population 19 185), and 78 km (49 miles) NE of Matai (population 24 070), Tanzania.

There are 980 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

9 000 people are estimated to have felt moderate shaking and 1 089 000 light.

At least one person has lost its life when a house collapsed in the village of Iyula, south of the A104 route.

Four houses collapsed in the Mbeya region, while other buildings showed cracks and other signs of damage, Africa Times reported.

The quake hit a seismically active region of the East African Rift, in the same place where a December 1910 M7.4 earthquake struck, one of the most powerful in Africa’s modern history. 

In September 2016, a M5.9 earthquake hit northern Tanzania, leaving 20 people dead.

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: Google, TW/SAM

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