Earthquakes happen when cracks in the earth’s surface (called fault lines) move and break under stress.
Vibrations (called seismic waves) ripple out from the where these rocks break and can cause the ground to shake and tremble.
The shaking can last from a few seconds to a few minutes and may be followed by a series of aftershocks.
Earthquakes can be felt hundreds of kilometres away from it where began (called the epicentre) but this will depend on its size (or magnitude).Earthquakes have the potential to cause major damage and loss of life, and as they are random events they are difficult to prepare for.
Unlike other natural hazards, earthquakes don’t happen at a certain time of year or because of dangerous weather. They happen at any time, without warning and cannot be stopped or kept under control.
You may not realise it but Western Australia is rattled by an earthquake nearly every day. We don’t feel every small tremor that happens, but the larger earthquakes are powerful enough to cause serious damage to buildings and roads, putting our community’s safety at risk.
If you live in an area that has experienced earthquakes before, you are more at risk and should be prepared for it to happen again. By making an earthquake plan with your family, you’ll be prepared and know how to stay safe when the ground starts shaking.
Download a copy of the Earthquake Fact Sheet.
When you are safe, report your earthquake experience to Geoscience Australia using the Felt Report. Earthquake effects may vary significantly over small distances due to changes in ground conditions, your building type, and what you were doing at the time. By reporting your individual experience, you are helping to inform emergency services on the earthquake impacts in your area.
The Lake Muir earthquake sequence began with a magnitude 5.7 quake on 16 September 2018, which is the largest recorded earthquake south of Perth, since records began.
Damage occurred to localised structures near the epicentre and since then in excess of 700 aftershocks have been recorded, including a magnitude 4.6 on 13 October 2018 and a magnitude 5.4 on 9 November 2018. These events were widely felt throughout the south west of WA including parts of the Perth metropolitan area.
In response to local concerns and identified gaps in hazard awareness the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Lower South West Region facilitated a community workshop in Frankland River that focused on community preparedness, earthquake hazard education, briefings on the current situation and response actions for agencies and community.
The workshop was supported by Geoscience Australia, DFES Great Southern Region, WA Police, Local Government, SES volunteers, Department of Communities and Red Cross.
The workshop enabled two-way conversation with local residents, to understand their concerns and address gaps in hazard awareness and preparatory actions.
Post incident surveys and the interactive workshop format provided an opportunity for the community to share their experience.
Following on from the workshop DFES in collaboration with Geoscience Australia produced the Lake Muir Earthquake Community Information poster, click here to download a copy.