Ghana Geological Survey warns of a major earthquake

The Ghana Geological Survey Authority has confirmed that many parts of Accra were affected by three earth tremors on Wednesday night, saying the nature of the incidents is an indication of an imminent major earthquake.

The tremors were made up of a foreshock, which struck at 10.48 pm and measured 3.7 on the Richter scale, then the main shock which occurred at 10.54pm and measured 4.2 on the Richter scale. 

This was followed by the aftershock at 10.57 pm, which measured 3.5 on the Richter scale.

Mr. Nicholas Opoku, a senior Seismologist at the Ghana Geological Survey Authority, told GNA in an interview that the source of the tremors was strongly believed to be the coast of the Dansoman Beach, and estimated to be between 200 and 500 meters into the sea.

He said it was worth noting that Accra was an earthquake-prone zone with active fault lines.

Mr. Opoku said whenever minor earthquakes occurred closely after each other as had been happening since 2018, it meant a major quake was definitely ahead.

However, he explained, there was no way of telling when this major tremor would happen because of the dynamics of earthquakes and the science that governed them.

Nonetheless, last night's tremor was much stronger than others that occurred in 2018 and 2019.

"An earth tremor that measures 4.2 on the Richter scale is strong enough for stations in other countries to pick up," Mr. Opoku said.

He said the most important thing to do now was to prepare for a major tremor because such a tremor was definitely to be expected in the country sooner or later.

"When it comes to earth tremors we have a return period when the tremor re-occurs. It is, however, not possible to tell when," the senior seismologist said.

Mr. Opoku said the way forward was to ensure that measures were taken to mitigate the effects of a major earthquake if one should happen.

He also urged estate developers to always consult geologists on their chosen sites and abide by the rules and regulations governing standard building procedures.

After a tremor had hit Weija and its surrounding areas in December 2018, another hit the same area in January 2019.

Last night's tremor, however, was a lot stronger, had a much wider impact than the two previous ones.

The most recent major earthquake in the country hit Accra in 1939 and was reported to have killed more than ten people and injured many others, with extensive damage to property.

Meanwhile, many residents who became alarmed by their experiences took to social media to share their concerns and warn them of imminent danger.