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Earth tremors in Nairobi

There’s been a bit of discussion over the earth tremor that hit yesterday morning at 6am, not least in the local newspapers. We are all fascinated to learn who felt it and who didn’t. There have been a five or six such tremors since July 15th and Monday morning’s mini earthquake measured 5.2 on the Richter scale. To be categorised as an earthquake it needs to measure 7 minimum.
Amongst my friends we speculated:
‘Some mountain in Tanzania is about to erupt’ was one theory.
Another one was: ‘the Rift Valley is where tectonic plates join and there are often earth tremors as they shift.’
Last month, I also got a blog comment from a friend while I was in England mentioning: ‘lots of earth tremors in Nairobi which are a bit scary.’
So, deciding that being armed with information is the best way to launch into coffee and tea party discussions I decided to google: ‘Nairobi earth tremors’. And now feel none the wiser really.

July’s tremors were blamed on a ‘seismic swarm’ by the US Geological Survey. The
Chairman of the Geology Department at the University of Nairobi said that the first tremor on July 15th originated from Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. The Government blamed the successive July tremors on stirrings beneath Ol Donyo Lengai, Tanzania, an active volcano 240kms southwest of Nairobi and the US Geological Survey said that Monday’s rumblings emanated from about 90kms north west of Arusha, Tanzania ( which is 180kms to the South West of Nairobi). The geologically active Great Rift Valley was also referred to as a cause.

Ok, now from this information we can draw that the epicentre seems to be in Tanzania, which for us Nairobi residents is good news, but now I’m also beginning to think that the earth tremors are ‘a bit scary’ as no one seems able to agree what is causing them.

A funny story was that a friend of mine came to tea on Sunday, having just been to a bizarre lunch party. When another guest was introducing himself, she was surprised to hear him say:
‘Hello, I am the Russian Ambassador’
To which she nearly replied:
‘Yes, and I am the queen of Sheba’
Instead she just laughed heartily assuming that he was joking.
It turned out that this was indeed the Russian Ambassador and his friends or rather entourage comprised young, suited bald men in wrap around designer sunglasses playing chess and drinking shots of vodka – or perhaps that a little artistic licence on the part of my friend? Made me laugh anyway.

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