Earthquake overview : Inhabitants of the greater Nairobi area in Kenya were alerted in the middle of the night by a moderate shallow earthquake who struck at only 33 km from the capital
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To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).
Check also our Kenya-only earthquake list
Keep this page open or return regularly as we will be back with more details when they become available
- We invite our Kenya readers to share what they have felt with the rest of our worldwide readership. If the earthquake has been felt across the border with Tanzania, please let us know too.
- The East African Rift is an active continental rift zone in eastern Africa that appears to be a developing divergent tectonic plate boundary (spreading plates) . In the past it was considered to be part of a larger Great Rift Valley that extended north to Turkey. The rift is a narrow zone in which the African Plate is in the process of splitting into two new tectonic plates called the Somali Plate and the Nubian Plate, which are subplates or protoplates. See picture of the plates at the bottom of this article.
- The epicenter is located below Ngenya and close to the Thika Dam. The Thika dam is approx. 15 km from the shallow epicenter, but it should be no problem at all to withstand a moderate quake like the one from today.
- The intensity of the shaking is not strong enough to inflict serious damage or injuries, but can cause some cracks in walls as the houses in Kenya are mostly made of brick or adobe and are this very vulnerable for damage when serious shaking is taking place.
- The intensity reported from Nairobi is III MMI = a weak shaking
- The earthquake can be called unusual so close to for Nairobi, but not unusual for Kenya as Kenya is part of the tectonics very active rift valley with spreading plates. These spreading plates are “hanging” on regular intervals and are even the reason for the many volcanoes the country has within its borders.
Historic earthquakes in Kenya
1895 May 15
Earthquake destroyed some houses near Malindi.
1924 Jul 1 (Ms 5.6) Suguta (Kenya) 47
A strong earthquake was felt in the northern districts of Kenya. Tribesmen reported that the shock caused ground deformations and landslides near the Suguta River and in the vicinity of Silali. Unconfirmed reports also mention changes in the river flow and geothermal activity. The only building in the region, the abandoned military post at Kolosia was ruined. The shock was felt at a number of settlements, (Figure A21) and was followed by few but strong aftershocks. Instrumental recording was very poor. Press, Loupekine (1971).
1928 Jan 6 (Ms 6.9) Subukia (Kenya) Intensity VIII
This relatively large magnitude earthquake in the Subukia Valley in Kenya was associated with a 30 km long normal surface rupture. Much of the damage caused by the shock and its aftershock of 10 January (Ms 6) occurred within a distance of about 20 km from the fault break (this was also damaging – had an intensity VI). The epicentral area was very sparsely settled and there were no casualties. Further away from the fault break damage was widespread but not serious and mainly affected stone masonry houses and adobe farmhouses. The shock was widely felt (Figure A22), and exhibited long-period effects at large distances particularly along the coast and the shore of Lake Victoria. It was well recorded instrumentally with good agreement between instrumental and
macroseismic positions. Ambraseys (1991)
1957 May 8 (Ml4.4) 4.3, 35.7
Some slight damage occurred.
1968 March 20 (Ml4.6) shallow damage -0.6, 34.4
One person was killed
Epicentre near Homa Bay on the east coast of Lake Victoria. The focus appears to have some connexion with the Lambwe-samanga Fault ; the shock was felt over an area of 20,000 square miles. There was some damage (cracks, issures, falls of plaster) at Homa Bay, Got Kokech, Usiri and to several buildings in the mountainous region north of the bay. An isoseismal map has been published (69). Several aftershocks were felt during the following days and were recorded at Nairobi.
Rusinga Island, intensity VI, sharp shock at 10 p.m., followed by several slight tremors. Houses shook and a few old houses collapsed. One person killed and another injured at Kamasengro near Gomba Hill. People frightened and slept out. Hanging objects swang. Crockery rattled, some falling on the floor. Old trees fell down. Cracks in walls in several houses. Loupekine (1971) etc.
2004 December 26
The effects of the Indian Ocean Tsunami were seen in Kenya with waves.
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“I Have Felt It” reports as received by Earthquake-Report.com
See below for all the received Earthquake Experience reports as received by earthquake-report.com
Most important Earthquake Data:
UTC Time : Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 02:01:27 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 05:01:27 AM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 10 km
33 km (20 miles) NNW of NAIROBI, Kenya
81 km (50 miles) NW of Machakos, Kenya
109 km (67 miles) SE of Nakuru, Kenya
I Have Felt this earthquake
|EMSC||Kenya||Apr 17 02:01 AM||4.6||10||MAP I Felt It|
|USGS||Kenya||Apr 17 02:01 AM||4.6||10||MAP I Felt It|
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