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Three weeks ago, Abuja was shaken by a series of ground vibrations, later asserted to be earth tremors that led to worry amongst inhabitants of the capital city. For the very first time in our history, a state in Nigeria would experience a slight earthquake — first felt at Mpape, and later at Gwarimpa and Maitama districts in Abuja. In response to the seismic event that left roads and buildings damaged in its wake, FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said residents should not overreact as there was nothing to fear; the vibrations were sorely caused by “stress in underground rocks resulting from human activities including blasting and mining of rocks.”

Reports from OAU’s Seismology Team

However, evidence put forward by Dr. Adepelumi A.A, head of the Seismology Team of the department of Geology, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, indicates that FEMA’s reports are specious. Thanks to a number of tweets by Ikenna Okonkwo, a Geologist at the University of Nigeria, we were able to gather the results from the investigations — by OAU’s Seismology team — of the lithospheric structures associated with the Abuja tremor, nicknamed tremor “Mary.” According to the reports, the tremor which is classified as a natural intraplate (within a tectonic plate) seismicity occurrence, was caused by a sudden 3m displacement along the fault aligned NE-SW at 15km depth. The NE-SW fault lines were discovered to run through Mpape — the epicenter of the tremor. Findings also linked the faults to hydraulic issues along the fractured lines, responsible for the shock. Further tectonic implications of tremor Mary may be:
  • Built up local stress regime,
  • Influence of far-field stresses
  • Effect of mantle build dynamics
  • Uncompensated lithospheric load differences
Click here to view the full report as detailed by Okonkwo.

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This article was first published on 25th September 2018


Achem Samuel is a writer and a musician, he is passionate about God and also an ardent fan of tech, sports and music.

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