Southern Australia is being rattled by hundreds of quakes- and scientists aren’t sure why
theextinctionprotocol - AUSTRALIA - Scientists in Victoria are attempting to learn more about the increase in the number of earthquakes in the Gippsland region. Seismologists are describing the region as an earthquake hotspot. There were only 50 earthquakes recorded up until 2009, but since then there have been 700. The activity has been particularly high in the Strzelecki Ranges which lie between the Latrobe Valley and the Gippsland coastline. Locals have been intrigued by the tremors for years.
Gary Gibson from the University of Melbourne says the motion in Gippsland is high. “There are other spots that are active for a period of time but they’re active for a geologically short period, maybe 100,000 years or something and they go quiet. And they’ve got no long term evidence of continued motion,” he said. “Whereas the motion in Gippsland here, the rate of earthquake activity we have at the moment is high. The geology suggests that the average over the last few million years is probably even higher.” There are eight seismographs planted in the ground along fault lines meters below the surface around Gippsland to monitor the tremors. They are so sensitive that they can record the vibrations of approaching footsteps. One of them is on Neville Cliff’s beef farm. “We’ve had some good earthquakes come through here. You can hear them coming. It’s like an express train coming and the house shakes,” he said. “How many farmers got a seismograph? People tell me how many cattle they’ve got and how many acres they’ve got and I say well have you got a seismograph?”
Honors student Dan Sandiford recently finished a study on the seismic activity of areas with fractures in the rock bed, called faults. He looked at whether the activity was related to faults in the Gippsland area. “The question really is, are those faults still active? Are the earthquakes that are happening and have been recorded here in the modern era related to those faults? The study suggested that those earthquakes did happen on faults and those faults are some of the largest ones which are known in the area,” he said. Gary Gibson says it is hoped the research will have some impact on building regulations in the area. “One of the problems with living in an inactive area is firstly that your building standards don’t take serious consideration of the type of earthquake that is going to affect us,” he said. “The way you try and avoid problems with earthquakes is you don’t want buildings to collapse under any circumstances so they have to be designed to withstand it.” –ABC.net
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