Cause of SA earthquake uncertain

The Council of Geoscience says it’s difficult to prove mining is to blame.

The Council of Geoscience says it’s difficult to prove mining is to blame. 8 August 2014. Picture: Google Earth.

KHUMA, North West - The Council of Geoscience says it's difficult to determine to what extent mining activity may have influenced Tuesday's 5. 5 magnitude earthquake.

The area around Johannesburg is not prone to seismic activity but it is home to some of the deepest gold mines in the world.

The quake is the largest in the southern Africa region since a 7.0 tremor in Zimbabwe in 2006.

The council's Denver Birch says it's difficult to prove mining is to blame.

"You can imagine they're moving millions of tons of rock every day and something has to fill that gap so the stress gets transferred.

"To say that the mining directly influenced it is difficult to prove. Simply because we didn't have a station set up 50 years ago that could have told us this area has a history of magnitude fives."

House damaged by earthquake in Khuma township, Stilfontein. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

Officials from the North West Education Department say some classes have been suspended as they carry out assessments of schools affected.

The department's Hasimbhay Motara says, "In one school that I have been at there were at least six to eight classrooms that were in very bad shape and we needed to assess what we could do with regard to the children that were attending the classes."

Meanwhile, visiting the township North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo has promised all residents affected by Tuesday's earthquake in the province will receive help.

The premier says his office is working closely with the presidency to make sure help reaches everyone affected by the earthquake.

The quake damaged hundreds of homes and injured 21 people. A man was also killedafrter a wall collapsed on him.

"It's quite a serious problem. It's quite scary. We have asked the Department of Social Development to look at the people who will be helping us with counselling affected families."

Mahumapelo says the earthquake has taken the country by surprise.

"This doesn't happen often in South Africa. You'll never be 100 percent ready for such a disaster."

The township was hard hit because of its proximity to the epicentre and some residents say they are still in shock.

Watch: Earthquake: Residents in Khuma shaken

Meanwhile, AngloGold Ashanti says it is assessing the impact of the damage caused by the earthquake at its mines.

At least 21 workers were injured and more than 3,000 had to be hoisted out of the company's Great Noligwa and Moab Khotsong operations in the Vaal.

Images: Google Earth, ER24, Twitter and EWN.