Reducing Perth's risk to natural hazards

22 October 2001

Reducing Perth's risk to natural hazards such as earthquakes is the aim of a new research project being undertaken by Geoscience Australia.

In partnership with the Fire and Emergency Services Authority, the Department for Planning and Infrastructure and the Bureau of Meteorology, the four-year project will result in a better understanding of geohazards facing the local community.

Geoscience Australia's project leader, Lisa Buckleton, said by gathering this information Perth's emergency management organisations will be better prepared for major disasters, and planners and engineers will be able to design a safer city.

Over the next few weeks a research team will be on the streets of Perth with a GPS (Global Positioning System), a seismometer and a computer. Their Day-Glo vests and Geoscience Australia markings on vehicles will easily identify them as members of the field survey group.

The researchers will be recording natural earth movements called microtremors, which will be used to estimate the ground shaking that could be expected from earthquakes. Results will allow better estimates of possible structural damage to buildings, roads and bridges.

The information will be used along with other scientific data, such as building construction materials and methods, to assess the risk from earthquakes and in the development of emergency procedures.

"Only by knowing the risk can we plan ways to minimise it," said Ms Buckleton.

Topic contact: Last updated: October 4, 2013