Earthquake study launched

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Earthquake study launched

 

SCIENTISTS are acting to more accurately locate earthquakes in the Strzelecki Ranges.

Seismic experts from the Australian Geophysical Observing System (AGOS) at the University of Melbourne are undertaking the study after the unexpectedly powerful Moe earthquake (magnitude 5.4) in June 2012.

Associate Professor Tim Rawling from the University of Melbourne said, “Unfortunately there is a prevalent view of low risk around earthquakes in this country.

“This is a public and institutional perception, which may, in the future, cause harm to communities built around seismically active areas. This is one of the main drivers for us seeking an improved understanding of Australia’s crustal stability.”

The Subsurface Observatory group of AGOS already has an extensive array of surface monitors integrating with instruments from the Seismometer in Schools Program (AuSIS) in Gippsland and across Victoria.

The group is now working to enhance this network with a number of underground instruments that are expected to greatly improve sensitivity in earthquake monitoring.

“It’s easy to forget that we live on a very dynamic continental plate. The Australian Plate is actually one of the fastest moving on the planet, and as a result, our continent is relatively highly stressed and more prone to earthquakes than we might expect,” Associate Professor Rawling said.

The research program will place monitoring equipment down a series of five shallow monitoring bores, located adjacent to geological faults crossing the Strzelecki Range between Korumburra and Moe.  These highly sensitive earthquake seismometers are capable of detecting the faintest of earthquake signals, and delivering precise location and visualisation information.

“This will enable the team to better understand local, as well as regional, stress and failure in the earth’s crust, providing a clearer picture of the potential earthquake hazard for the Gippsland region.” Associate Professor Rawling said.

The team hopes to have the instruments fully operational and delivering data by early 2014.  Once processed, the monitoring results will be publicly available, along with the data from AuSIS, on the internet through the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology network.

This information will contribute to new hazard data and maps currently being developed by a number of groups, including the Victorian Earthquake Hazard Map at the University of Melbourne.

These efforts will help to underpin the establishment of new planning codes and disaster management strategies that specifically consider seismic hazard.

 

 

Melbourne University researchers deploy an AGOS instrument down a borehole in Gippsland.

Melbourne University researchers deploy an AGOS instrument down a borehole in Gippsland.

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Posted by on Jan 6 2014. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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