Fear as 2-km fault line cuts across Naivasha farms

Tuesday April 17 2018

Moi Ndabi fault lines

The giant fissure swallowed crops in its wake at at Moi Ndabi area on the outskirts of Naivasha town. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By MACHARIA MWANGI
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A two-kilometre fault line has cut across farms, sparking fears among residents of Moi Ndabi area on the outskirts of Naivasha town, Nakuru County.

At least 16 families have moved to safe grounds after some of their crops sank and were swallowed in the phenomenon that started on Monday.

WATER

Several acres of Irish potatoes, wheat, beans and maize are feared to have been destroyed by the giant crack that was filled with water overnight.

It was not immediately clear where the water came from but it is suspected to be run-off from the heavy rains pounding various parts of Kenya.

Moi Ndabi fault lines

Some houses are at the risk of collapsing at Moi Ndabi area. PHOTO | COURTESY

A section of Marmanet river has also changed its course and its water is suspected to have drenched the fissure.

The change of course has paralysed transport on Kijabe Road in Moi Ndabi.

Local government officials asked locals to move to safe grounds as geologists and experts investigated the cause of the huge fissure.

Moi Ndabi fault lines

A section of Marmanet river has also changed its course and its water is suspected to have drenched the fissure. PHOTO | MACHARIA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The crack is similar to the one that cut across sections of Mai Mahiu weeks ago.

Naivasha assistant county commissioner Joseph Opondo on Tuesday urged affected families to be cautious.

Moi Ndabi fault lines

The giant crack is estimated to be 20-foot deep. PHOTO | COURTESY

“The heavy rains pounding this region have contributed in a way to the fault line,” said Mr Opondo.

NAROK

Area Ward Rep Gathariki Kamanu said they had asked the families to move away as the first precautionary measure.

Moi Ndabi fault lines

Irish potatoes are among crops destroyed by the fault line at Moi Ndabi area. PHOTO | COURTESY

"It’s a 20-foot deep fault line that runs across several agricultural farms. The families were asked to leave primarily for their safety," said the MCA.

An inspection team comprising engineers and other experts is expected to tour the area on Tuesday to assess the situation.

A similar occurrence in Maai Mahiu a few weeks ago cut the busy Maai Mahiu-Narok road in area known to have inherent geological weaknesses.

Moi Ndabi fault lines

Residents of Moi Ndabi area ponder over their next move after the crack uprooted them from their homes. PHOTO | COURTESY

The damage hampered transport to and from western Kenya, with traders incurring heavy losses.

According to experts the Rift Valley region is still prone to volcanicity.

This spot could be just one of the tens, perhaps hundreds, of other weak spots on the Great Rift Valley, which runs through the continent from the Horn of Africa to Mozambiqu.

Moi Ndabi fault lines

The giant crack was filled with water overnight. PHOTO | COURTESY

Scientists recently said four countries in the Horn of Africa — Somalia and half of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania — are expected to split from Africa to form a new continent — referred to as the Somali Plate — in about 50 million years.

Forces of the Earth are the strongest at the base of the valley, yet it is also here that geological processes are most active.

“The valley has a history of tectonic and volcanic activities,” says geologist David Adede.

“Whereas the rift has remained tectonically inactive in the recent past, there could be movements deep within the Earth’s crust that have resulted in zones of weakness extending all the way to the surface.”