Poster of the Mozambique Earthquake of 22 February 2006 - Magnitude 7.0

Tectonic Summary

The earthquake occurred near the southern end of the East African rift system. The East African rift system is a diffuse zone of crustal extension that passes through eastern Africa from Djibouti and Eritrea on the north to Malawi and Mozambique on the south and that constitutes the boundary between the Africa plate on the west and the Somalia plate on the east. At the earthquake's latitude, the Africa and Somalia plates are spreading apart at a rate of several millimeters per year. The largest earthquake to have occurred in the rift system since 1900 had a magnitude of about 7.6. Most earthquakes within the East African rift system occur as the result of either normal faulting or strike-slip faulting.

Statistics and Effects

22 February 2006 22:19:07 UTC
21.259° S., 33.480° E.
Depth 11 km
Mw = 7.0 (HRV)
One person killed at Espungabera, one killed at Machaze and 2 killed at Beira. Twenty-seven people injured and at least 160 buildings damaged in the Espungabera-Beira-Chimoio area. Power outages occurred at Maputo. Felt (intensity V) at Beira, Inhambane and Maputo; (intensity IV) at Matola. Felt (intensity IV) at Harare and Mutare, Zimbabwe. Also felt (intensity IV) at Louis Trichardt and Phalaborwa; (intensity III) at Durban and Middelburg; (intensity II) at Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa. Felt throughout Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe. Felt in Swaziland and at Lobatse, Botswana and Lusaka, Zambia.

Earthquake History

Year Month Day Latitude Longitude Magnitude Depth
19150508-23.0039.006.80
19321231-29.08432.9576.815
19421009-11.53834.6466.837
1968515-15.9226.15.725.3
1968122-14.123.7815.912.5
19740514-26.2727.535.722
19740801-16.6528.005.514
19760701-29.5225.185.933
19760919-11.0632.865.727
19770407-26.9326.665.511
19810217-23.0939.485.733
19860718-16.3628.505.517
19890125-27.9926.735.55
19890309-13.7134.385.829
19890310-13.7034.426.630
19941030-28.0326.745.65
19990422-27.9526.645.75
20060222-21.2533.507.011
20060223-21.4233.275.810
20060223-21.3733.375.310
20060223-21.2933.475.010

Relative Plate Motion

The magnitude 7.0 Mozambique of February 22, 2006 occurred along the boundary between the Africa and Somalia plates. The relative motion perpendicular and parallel to the Africa and Somalia tectonic plate margin is a combination of convergent, divergent and transverse relative motions. Divergent and convergent relative plate motions would be expected where plate motion is normal to the plate margin. Transcurrent or transform faulting would be expected where relative motion is parallel to the plate margin.

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