Earthquakes in Australia: A Queensland Update

Do we get earthquakes in Australia?

That’s a question I answered some time ago in a post called Australia and Earthquakes. Surely Not. In that article I talked about some of the top 10 most powerful earthquakes we’ve had in this country and also Australia’s worst earthquake in terms of fatalities and damage.

That was in Newcastle in 1989, there were 13 deaths and it was a magnitude 5.7.

The big news here in Queensland this week is that we have had eight earthquakes since last Thursday and three of them have been a 5 or above. The biggest one, which happened at 1:38 PM last Saturday, was the same as that one in Newcastle back in the 80s at a 5.7.

That makes it the second largest earthquake in Queensland’s history.

Here is a map of earthquake activity over the last seven days in this region, you can click on the map to be taken to the government’s live updates on this…

eartquakeTo help you understand what these numbers mean, a magnitude 5 earthquake is equivalent to one atomic bomb; a 5.7 is the equivalent of 15!

Fortunately for us, our 5.7 took place 120 kilometres east of Fraser Island, in other words, deep in the Pacific Ocean.

Apparently Australia gets around 400 to 500 earthquakes each year but they are either in remote areas or in the sea. Let’s hope it stays that way.

This latest Queensland quake was felt by people along an approximately 500 kilometre stretch from around 100 kilometres to the south of Brisbane and 400 kilometres to the north. I didn’t feel a thing, but I think I was driving my car at the time.

You may remember we had a small earthquake back in February of this year, I mentioned it in a post called Earthquake in Eidsvold: Whatever Next For Queensland? The video I had originally included in that post was unfortunately taken down, so I’ve included three today, hopefully some of them will stick.

First, this is how 9 News reported the first in this series of earthquakes, a magnitude 5.3 from last Thursday morning…

And 7 News followed it up with a little history earthquakes in Queensland, which they put together one day before the 5.7 struck…

But then featured the 5.7 quake a few days later…

Should we be worried? According to one seismologist we heard from in these videos, we should only really worry when these earthquakes stop. He didn’t exactly explain why, but I’ll take his word for it.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Aaron August 11, 2015, 8:31 am | Link

    You have to worry when they stop because the tectonic plates are building up pressure and when they finally release the real fun begins. Indonesia and Japan were examples of 3-5 hundred years of pressure build up.

    • BobinOz August 11, 2015, 9:16 pm | Link

      Ah, okay, I get it now. Thanks for clearing that up for me Aaron.

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