Be pre­pared for more earthquakes

Great Southern Herald - - News - Toby Hussey

The Great South­ern should be pre­pared for more ground-shak­ing earthquakes in com­ing months, an ex­pert has warned.

Geo­science Aus­tralia seis­mol­o­gist Trevor Allen said while it was vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to pre­dict earthquakes, this year’s un­der­ground ac­tiv­ity near Lake Muir meant it was likely there would be more big tremors com­ing. More than 700 small earthquakes mea­sur­ing be­tween mag­ni­tude 0.1 and 3 have been de­tected around Lake Muir this year — un­usual for the re­gion.

“Now that we have seen earthquakes of this medium-to-large mag­ni­tude, the po­ten­tial for hav­ing fur­ther earthquakes of a sim­i­lar mag­ni­tude is prob­a­bly higher,” Mr Allen said. “There is a chance we could see earthquakes of sim­i­lar mag­ni­tude (from Lake Muir) in the com­ing months.”

In re­sponse to sto­ries of wa­ter springs ap­pear­ing in the re­gion af­ter earthquakes, Mr Allen said the phe­nom­e­non was “not com­mon, but cer­tainly not ab­nor­mal”.

Earthquakes could re­di­rect un­der­ground wa­ter channels, in this case send­ing wa­ter bub­bling to the sur­face, he said.

“It’s cer­tainly some­thing we don’t see every day from earthquakes, but there has been doc­u­mented ev­i­dence of this sort of be­hav­iour oc­cur­ring,” he said.

Mr Allen vis­ited Fran­k­land last week for a first-of-its-kind Great South­ern earth­quake sem­i­nar at which he re­vealed new ma­chin­ery in­stalled by Geo­science Aus­tralia was giv­ing ex­perts unique in­sight.

About 70 peo­ple at­tended the sem­i­nar, along with emer­gency ser­vices, lo­cal govern­ment and char­ity rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

De­part­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices dis­trict of­fi­cer Leon Gar­diner, who also spoke, said it was a good op­por­tu­nity to hear com­mu­nity con­cerns.

“I think all the feed­back . . . was pos­i­tive; they’ve got a bit of an un­der­stand­ing now around what’s ac­tu­ally been go­ing on,” he said.

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