The 1990 to 1991 Sudan Earthquake Sequence and the Extent of the East African Rift System

Science  01 Apr 1994:
Vol. 264, Issue 5155, pp. 67-70
DOI: 10.1126/science.264.5155.67


One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in Africa (surface wave magnitude Ms = 7.2) occurred about 50 kilometers east of the Upper River Nile on 20 May 1990. Four days later, two more large earthquakes (Ms = 6.4 and 7.0) occurred about 50 kilometers to the northwest in the Nile Valley. In the following months, a further 60 events were recorded by seismic stations worldwide. The earthquakes are associated with two fault systems: one east of the Nile with azimuth southeast and one along the Nile Valley with azimuth north-northeast. The activity alternated between the two fault systems and indicates that the northern extremity of the western branch of the East African Rift System extends at least 350 kilometers north of Lake Albert.