Nigerian Space Agency releases Preliminary investigation on Abuja Earthquake

Abuja, the capital of Nigeria

The Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Professor Seidu Mohammed has said that the preliminary investigations by the Agency on the recent earth tremors experienced in Abuja from 5th to 8th September 2018 has revealed the incident as minor and below 3.0 magnitudes.

He made this statement today in Abuja during a press briefing held at Obasanjo Space Centre on the formal presentation of technical report on the incidents by the Space Agency which has as part of its mandates earth observation research as well as monitoring and prediction of Geo hazards using Space Geodetic and Geophysical Techniques.

Professor Mohammed advised residents of the affected areas to remain calm as investigations has shown that there is no need for relocation or panic but  residents can go about their normal activities as usual.

According to investigations carried out by experts in the Space Agency, the main earthquake which occurred on Friday 7th September at 5:11:32 am with a moment magnitude of 2.6 and a local magnitude of 3.0. while the foreshocks and aftershocks were experienced on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as Friday and Saturday respectively. The foreshock and aftershocks all had a magnitude of less than 3.0.

Professor Mohammed explained that the stress drop from the main earthquake was 2.1 bar, and the length of fault displacement was computed as 0.56 kilometer, while the rupture or focal depth of the earthquake was estimated between 10 kilometer and 15 kilometer.

He pointed out that although it is difficult to predict earth tremors and earthquakes, however certain parameters can be put in place to monitor the activities of crustal movement within the fault lines of the country so as to understand the trend of such movements.

Experts and researchers from Kujama seismic station in Kaduna state which is closest to the scene of the incidence visited the area where the vibrations were felt and estimated the intensities of the earthquakes in Jahi and parts of Gwarinpa as II –III on the Modifies Marcelli Scale (MMS), and in Katampe area it was III while in Mpape it was estimated as III – IV with the strongest shakings observed around Ajegunle in Mpape.

The NASRDA team which comprised of experts from its Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics in Toro visited the site of the incidents on physical investigations so as to determine the vulnerability of structures in the affected areas in order to mitigate future disasters.

The Director of Centre for  Geodesy and Geodynamics, an activity centre of the Space Agency located in Toro Bauchi state, Dr Tahir Yakubu while responding to questions from journalists said, further investigations are on-going to understand the contributory cause to the recent incident.

He said apart from the area being located along the epicentre, certain activities such as rock blasting and other earth moving activities along these fault lines can trigger movement in the earth that may lead to such incidents. Dr Yakubu also observed that rain water can become a lubricant that can make for easy crustal movement along these fault lines.

He therefore called for caution during such activities, saying, construction of infrastructure such as rail lines along these fault lines should be done with an understanding of the nature and peculiarity of the area.

According to him, further investigations will also be conducted to establish a link between the Kwoi incident in Kaduna which occurred in September 2016 and the recent occurrence in Abuja on to reveal and understand causal factors and deduce similarities between both occurrences.

Dr Yakubu explained that details of the various investigations by the Space Agency would be made available to relevant authorities for holistic and strategic planning in the wider area of Mpape and the Federal Capital Territory as a whole.

The centre Director therefore called on the Federal Government to assist in the establishment of more seismic stations across the nation in line with global practice for effective monitoring and collation of relevant data of seismic activities in the country.

Dr Felix Ale,
Head Media and Corporate Communications


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