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Media Release

Seismic stations installed at Lake Muir on two-year earthquake anniversary
Friday 18 September 2020 – 9:20 AM

​Recording stations that provide a greater understanding of earthquakes have been installed in the South West this week, coinciding with the two-year anniversary of one of the biggest earthquakes recorded in the region.  

The stations will improve data, monitoring and analysis of seismic activity.

Under a research project launched in 2019, 15 recording stations have been installed in locations including Manjimup, Walpole and Darradup. There will be a total of 25 stations installed by the end of October.

The project is a joint initiative involving Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), the Australian National University, Geological Survey of Western Australia, Macquarie University and Geoscience Australia. 

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Strategy and Emergency Management Mal Cronstedt said enhanced monitoring was an important part of understanding earthquakes, but this week’s installations should also serve as a reminder for the community to be prepared. 

“Western Australia is one of the most seismically active areas in Australia, and we generally anticipate a magnitude 5.0 earthquake in the South West every 10 years,” Deputy Commissioner Cronstedt said. 

“Earthquakes can happen anywhere, at any time and have the potential to cause major damage and loss of life – so it’s crucial to be prepared.

“If an earthquake occurs you should stay indoors until the shaking stops and take cover under a sturdy table or desk, or if outside, stay away from buildings, power lines and trees.”

On 16 September 2018, the magnitude 5.7 earthquake was recorded near Lake Muir, south east of Manjimup, and the tremors were felt across the South West and Perth metropolitan area.  The earthquake resulted in a three kilometre-long surface rupture near the epicentre.

Within days of the main shock, Geoscience Australia installed portable seismic recording devices and began live streaming data back to its operations centre in Canberra. Over 700 aftershocks were recorded, including a magnitude 4.6 on 13 October and a magnitude 5.4 on 9 November.

Geoscience Australia earthquake hazard lead scientist Trevor Allen said a number of key observations and lessons were learnt from the information collected.

“Based on geological investigations from the Lake Muir area, there is little evidence to suggest previous earthquake activity on this fault in the recent geological past,” Mr Allen said.

“In Australia, surface-rupturing earthquakes have all occurred on previously unknown faults. 

“It is impossible to predict where the next large earthquake will likely occur in the region.”

The collaborative research project funded by the Australian Research Council was established in 2019, culminating in today’s installation. 

For information about earthquakes and how to prepare yourself and your property visit dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/earthquake  

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Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9395 9543

 

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