South Australian earthquake examined

10 April 2012

A recent earthquake in South Australia is to come under close scrutiny to determine the extent of surface deformation in the landscape and its overall impact on the countryside.

The magnitude 5.7 earthquake occurred on 23 March near Ernabella (Pukatja), a remote aboriginal community in northern South Australia and was the largest recorded on mainland Australia in 15 years.

As well as investigating the extent of surface deformation, earthquake geologists from Geoscience Australia will inspect rock falls and talk to local residents about their experiences during the event and their subsequent observations of changes to the landscape.

The Geoscience Australia Earthquake Hazard Program leader, David Burbidge, said the team would also look for evidence of any previous large earthquakes in the area.

"The information will help seismologists develop a greater understanding of the large earthquake potential in this part of central Australia and help with the assessment of earthquake hazard across the continent," Dr Burbidge said.

Following the earthquake on 23 March there have been two additional, lower magnitude events near Ernabella on 30 March and 8 April. Both were magnitude 3.6.

Further information on these earthquakes and the original event is available on the Geoscience Australia website at

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