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Aussie Earthquakes – Behind the News

Melbourne, Australia – In a rare occurrence, Melbourne recently experienced its largest earthquake in 120 years, with tens of thousands of people reporting feeling the magnitude 4 quake.

Although earthquakes are infrequent in Australia and typically cause minimal damage, this event has sparked curiosity about the country’s seismic activity and its impact.

Residents of Melbourne were startled when the magnitude 4 earthquake struck the city.

While some were rattled and wide awake, others didn’t even notice a thing.

“It’s very scary; I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life,” said one resident.

Fortunately, the earthquake did not result in any injuries, and the damage was limited to a few cracks in buildings.

However, for Melbourne, this was considered a significant event, as it marked the largest earthquake in the metropolitan area since 1902.

So why are earthquakes relatively uncommon in Australia? The answer lies in the country’s location.

The Earth’s crust is composed of large slabs of rock, known as tectonic plates, which fit together like a puzzle.

These plates float on a layer of molten rock and move at a rate of a few centimeters per year.

As they move in different directions—away from each other, sliding past, or colliding—they generate vibrations that result in earthquakes.

Consequently, most earthquakes occur along the boundaries where tectonic plates meet.

Volcanoes also tend to form in these areas.

However, Australia is located in the middle of a tectonic plate, which explains why large earthquakes are rare.

Nevertheless, seismic activity does occur, and the Australian continental plate is actually the fastest-moving tectonic plate, shifting at almost seven centimeters per year.

This movement places pressure on both the Eurasian and Pacific plates, leading to intraplate earthquakes when the accumulated stress is released.

Australia has experienced its share of significant earthquakes in the past.

In 1989, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake rocked the city of Newcastle in New South Wales.

The quake claimed 13 lives, injured 160 people, and caused extensive damage.

Following this event, the Australian building code was revised to ensure the construction of safer buildings in case of future earthquakes.

Despite these instances, the likelihood of experiencing destructive earthquakes in Australia remains low.

The country actually encounters hundreds of earthquakes each year, but most go unnoticed.

Consequently, when a noticeable earthquake does occur, it garners significant attention.

Authorities advise individuals to “drop, cover, and hold on” during an earthquake, emphasizing the importance of seeking shelter under sturdy furniture until the shaking subsides.

While Melbourne’s recent earthquake served as a reminder of the country’s seismic potential, Australians can find reassurance in the infrequency of destructive earthquakes.

Nonetheless, ongoing research and preparedness efforts continue to ensure the safety and resilience of communities in the face of any future seismic events.

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