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As custodians of Australia's earthquake data, Geoscience Australia has updated information related to Australia's historical earthquakes, resulting in significant changes to what were previously thought to be some of Australia's largest events ever recorded. They are less common and do not follow easily recognisable patterns.
The following table represents our largest recorded earthquakes* as presented before and after the 2016 revision. Small slips, and caving-in of sand and gravel banks. This type of earthquake generally originates at shallow depths.
Geoscience Australia monitors, analyses and reports on significant earthquakes to alert the Australian Government, State and Territory Governments and the public about earthquakes in Australia and overseas.
which means to shake or move violently and was later applied to the science and equipment associated with earthquakes.
In 2016, Geoscience Australia revised the magnitudes of some of Australia's historical earthquakes as part of an international project to reassess the magnitude estimates of earthquakes around the globe. Large shallow earthquakes also happen where two plates are pulling apart with the creation of new oceanic crust along mid-ocean ridges and on the transform faults that intersect them.
This project aimed to revise historic earthquake measurements to more accurately reflect their true size based on modernised measuring techniques. Shallow intraplate earthquakes occur in the relatively stable interior of continents away from plate boundaries.
Seismographs, such as the Teledyne Geotech Helicorder pictured, were used in the past to detect earthquake activity and relied on a mechanical system to record the seismic energy in the Earth onto paper.
The arrival times of the seismic waves at the seismometers, together with the locations of the seismometers and the speed at which the seismic waves travel to the seismometers are all used to determine the location of the earthquake.
An earthquake alert is then sent to Geoscience Australia’s partner in the JATWC, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, to determine tsunami advice and publish tsunami bulletins. They are most common at tectonic plate boundaries where different plates meet.
The parameters of all other earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 3.5 are generally computed within 20 minutes. Frame houses not secured to the foundation may move. Landslips in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. The largest events usually happen where two plates are colliding, or colliding and sliding past one another.
The seismic data are collected and analysed automatically and immediately reviewed by Geoscience Australia’s Duty Seismologist. Few buildings erected prior to 1935 can be regarded as Masonry A.
As part of the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre (JATWC), Duty Seismologists also are responsible for analysing and reporting within 10 minutes of the origin time, on earthquakes which have the potential to generate a tsunami. Masonry C heavily damaged, sometimes collapsing completely. No part of Earth's surface is free from earthquakes, but some regions experience them more frequently.