Preliminary investigation into the cause and impact of acid mine water induced seismicity in Johannesburg

Izak du Plessis, Keagen Liebenberg, Ansie Smit, Serena Coetzee, Andrzej Kijko


A preliminary investigation was done into the possible causes of the increased seismic activity in the Witwatersrand Basin. The paper focuses on approximated underground mining areas, groundwater mobility, rock types and the proximity of fault lines to seismic events. These parameters were mapped and correlated with observed seismicity in the area. There is some indication that the presence of underground mining areas has a positive relationship with the occurrence of seismic events. The other parameters exhibit a negative relationship with seismic activity. However, more detailed investigations are required before final conclusions can be drawn. An approach to risk assessment of possible earthquake scenarios in the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) is proposed. The approach aims to assess potential damage to infrastructure and loss of life in the case of an earthquake. The results of such an assessment may provide justification for more detailed investigations.

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