Seismologists at Geoscience Australia have developed a series of maps that will provide new information on which areas of Australia are susceptible to earthquakes.
The Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP, today released the National Earthquake Hazard Map of Australia which has been developed following detailed examination of past earthquakes in Australia.
Minister Ferguson said the series of maps are a national scale assessment of earthquake hazard across Australia and estimate the likelihood of a particular area experiencing strong ground shaking from earthquakes.
It is this strong ground shaking, rather than simply the magnitude of an earthquake, that endangers people, buildings and infrastructure.
“Although these maps do not enable us to predict earthquakes, they will allow engineers and planners to design and locate buildings and infrastructure so as to better protect our communities,” Minister Ferguson said.
The information is intended for incorporation into Australia’s building code, a step which would support engineers to design structures to better withstand the likely ground shaking that will be experienced at a particular location.
“The underlying models and datasets, which have also been made publicly available, can be used by emergency managers, regional and urban planners, the insurance industry and researchers to undertake more detailed analysis,” Minister Ferguson said.
“For example, dam operators can use this information to minimise the likelihood of the major flooding that could result if a dam were severely damaged by an earthquake.
“Since 1950 Australia has experienced 168 earthquakes above magnitude 5.0 and in 2011 there were 82 events recorded at magnitude 3.0 or above.
“The regular occurrence of earthquakes underlines the important role that the National Earthquake Hazard Map of Australia plays in improving planning to mitigate the impact of earthquakes.”
Link to Earthquake Hazard map: http://www.ga.gov.au/darwin-view/hazards.xhtml