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Earthquake Hazards

Australians tend to view earthquakes as a hazard more relevant to our neighbours in Indonesia and New Zealand, which sit on active plate boundaries. However, Australia experiences about 100 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater every year. The recent magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Victoria was felt as far away as Sydney and Launceston. Should we be more prepared for ground movement? What hazards are associated with earthquakes? Measuring the danger Instruments detect about 13 000 earthquakes every year around the globe. Most of these are very low in magnitude and are not felt by people. Earthquakes of magnitude 5 or more are potentially damaging. Australia’s most costly earthquake occurred in Newcastle on 28 December 1989 . A magnitude 5.4 earthquake claimed 13 lives and damaged more than 50 000 buildings. The 1989 Newcastle earthquake was felt from Coffs Harbour to Bega. Shaking was particularly damaging in the soft sediments along the Hunter River. (Bidgee 2008, Creative Common

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