Seismic study in southern WA boosts earthquake knowledge

Earthquake knowledge in southern WA will be enhanced through a seismic monitoring study in the region.

The Australian Research Council has announced funding for the three year project, to recognise tremors caused by local and distant earthquakes.

More than $440,000 will be devoted to the study, which will include geophysicists, geologists and natural hazard specialists from the Australian National University (ANU), Macquarie University, Geoscience Australia, WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services and Geological Survey of Western Australia.

The State Government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme, which is managed by the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) with the WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), will also contribute $240,000 to the project.

A team of geophysicists, will install a network of 25 seismometers to record tremors.

The network is planned to cover an area south of Morawa and north of Bridgetown, extending from the Indian Ocean cost as far east as Hyden.

It will combine new seismic data with previously collected geophysical datasets to produce 3-D models of the Earth’s crust.

More than 40 temporary installed seismometers are currently recording local and distant Earth vibrations in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions.

DMIRS Executive Director Geological Survey and resource Strategy Jeff Haworth said the project had important applications.

“The data from this new project in southern WA will be important in determining prospectivity for mineral resources and will also assist in hazard management,” Mr Haworth said.

He added it would reveal unknown activity in the area.

“The nature of earthquake behaviour in this seismically active region is largely unknown, even after more than 50 years since the devastating magnitude 6.5 earthquake at Meckering,” he said.

“The 14 July magnitude 6.6 earthquake near Broome is a reminder that significant seismic activity can and does occur in Western Australia, and this new project will enhance our understanding of these events.”

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