Once again, local earthquakes are dominating the morning news. Yesterday evening a magnitude 5.3 tremor shook southern Victoria, with the epicentre located 9.9 km beneath Gippsland along the state’s south coast. The largest felt in almost 110 years. Geoscience Australia (GA) has reported that around 60 aftershocks have been felt in the region since and that tremors may continue for the next week. GA seismologist David Jaspen has attributed the seismic activity to the compression of the Australian continent due to the motion of plates around the Pacific region. When speaking to The Age this morning he said:
‘‘that compression leads to a building of stresses within the earth’s crust. Once that stress exceeds the strength of the rock, it will break and release energy. That’s how we generally see earthquakes occurring in Australia, a build up and then pop.”
The GA website apparently crashed briefly due to the volume of traffic as alarmed Victorian residents rushed to find out more information about ‘the pop’ and report some of the minor damage that it had caused. If you are interested in more technical information, then GA’s up to date Earthquake activity portal is up and running again and can be accessed here.
Canberra students at two local schools will be able to generate their own reports using data from the sensitive seismometers that were recently installed as part of the pilot program for a national network. For more information on this excellent educational program visit the Seismometers in Schools Facebook page, or our previous posts.