Project Global: Ground

This exploration of our current day metropolitan condition as a system of systems deals with the crust of the Earth as a primary carrying capacitor of human activities, from the extraction of resources deep within the ground, to agricultural operations that barely scratch the surface.

Part 1: Lexicon

Part 2: Atlas

Part 3: Architectural Projects

Part 1: Lexicon index

︎ Formation

    ︎ Kaapvaal Craton
    ︎ Johannesburg Dome
    ︎ Vredefort Dome
    ︎ Topsoil
    ︎ Müggelsee

︎ Measurement    ︎ Schwerbelastungskörper
    ︎ Mining Earthquakes
    ︎ Low-tech Soil Testing
    ︎ Soil Texture Triangle
    ︎ Geologic Time Scale 
    ︎ Stratigraphic Colum
    ︎ Geographic Information System
    ︎ Ecotone
    ︎ Cultural Landscape

︎ Prototype
    ︎ Unter den Linden
    ︎ Zoological Landscape
    ︎ Counterculture
    ︎ Cultural Agency
    ︎ Mine-pit Lakes
    ︎ Parliament of Things

︎ Land distribution
    ︎ 1913 Natives Land Act
    ︎ District Six
    ︎ Eavesdropping
    ︎ Reconciliation Policy
    ︎ Land Grabbing
    ︎ Land Acting
    ︎ The Red Ants
    ︎ #PutSouthAfricansFirst
    ︎ Suburban Enclaves
    ︎ Parallel State

︎ Extraction
    ︎ Cullinan Diamond Mine
    ︎ Platinum Group Metals
    ︎ Zamazamas
    ︎ Gold Rush Inertia
    ︎ Sinkhole
    ︎ Maize Doctor
    ︎ Coal Hands

︎ Infrastructure
    ︎ Gautrain
    ︎ Le-guba
    ︎ Lesotho Water Project
    ︎ Deutscher Wald
    ︎ Arrival City

︎ Production
    ︎ Safari Economy
    ︎ Agritourism
    ︎ Rainfall Line
    ︎ Upington Airport
    ︎ Tiergarten Transformation
    ︎ Pivot Irrigation
    ︎ Allotment Garden
    ︎ Bokoni Terracing
    ︎ Johannesburg Forestation
    ︎ Game Farming Cycle

︎ Waste
    ︎ Trümmerberg
    ︎ Fab-Soil
    ︎ Mining Waste Belt
    ︎ Sanitary Landfilling
    ︎ Soil Structure
    ︎ Biogas Technology

︎ Pollution
    ︎ Dry Stacked Tailings
    ︎ Water Pollution
    ︎ Soil Pollution
    ︎ Uranium Sandstorms
    ︎ Poaching

︎ Remediation
    ︎ European Green Belt
    ︎ Conservation Agriculture
    ︎ Airfield Urbanism
    ︎ Solar Park
    ︎ Gold Reef City
    ︎ Mine Pit Lake
    ︎ Loess Plateau
    ︎ Erosion Control

Mining Earthquakes

“When the artificial tremors and earthquakes stop, the natural ones have a chance to take their place.”

The discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand area of Johannesburg in the late nineteenth century has subsequently led to extensive mining activity that is oftentimes characterized by frequent small quakes and tremors caused by the detonation of explosives within the mines. In July of 2021, seismic activity caused by these detonated explosives around the Benoni and Boksburg area in Johannesburg was recorded at 3.5 on the local magnitude scale—an alternate seismic measurement scale to
the Richter’s scale
based on the relative proximity of a region to the earth’s crust—which qualified it as an earthquake and not a tremor.
        Although most earthquakes are the result of tectonic plate movement,which is a natural phenomenon, it has often become difficult to differentiate between tectonic-induced and mining-induced seismic activity in the region. The voids created from mining activity occasionally result in minor tremors and shakes throughout the Witwatersrand area.
        In the areas where mining activities have stopped, there is a noticeable increase in the subterranean water level as it finds the voids and gaps, similar to the filling of the dam. The higher water level creates additional pressure, exerting excess stress onto the rocks causing them to move underneath, a phenomenon that has been recorded as a precursor to increased seismicity.

Image source: Mining related seismicity of magnitude 4.0 and above in the gold mining regions of South Africa.

1.  Lindeque, Mia. “Earthquake Felt in Parts of Gauteng Likely Caused by Mining Activity.” Accessed March 7, 2022.
2.  Dyomfana, Bulelani. “Joburg Earthquake Linked To Gold Mine.” Text, July 30, 2021.