The recipient of the prestigious Geological Society of Australia (Victoria Division) Selwyn Medal for 2008 says that, despite popular belief,
Australia is a geologically active continent with moving fault-lines, regular seismic activity, and a long history of mountain making.
“In fact, there are numerous young fault-lines weaving their way across southern Australia, including one that goes right around the perimeter of
Adelaide. There are also young fault-lines running through the Mornington Peninsula outside Melbourne, the Strzelecki Ranges in Victoria and the
Flinders Ranges in South Australia.
The area around Adelaide is well known for its grapes, but little is known about what's happening deep below the surface of the rich soil. The same
goes for Victoria.
It's these states which the contemporary geologist Malcolm Wallace says contain numerous young fault lines.
He says there's one that goes right around the perimeter of Adelaide.
Others run through various mountain ranges.
MALCOLM WALLACE: Many of the mountain ranges in southern Victoria like the Strzelecki Ranges are a result of that very young or geologically young
BRENDAN TREMBATH: The Strzelecki Ranges for example are better known for their scenery than seismic activity.
But Stan Evison the manager of the Mirboo North Golf Club does remember a few times when the earth shook.
STAN EVISON: A couple of years ago we had quite a substantial quake here. I'm not sure of what it measured on the Richter scale, but it was like a
car hitting the house, everything shook. But I can't remember any others of any size. There has been a couple of mild ones going back I don't know
ten, 12 years.
“There are numerous young faultlines weaving their way across southern Australia, including one that goes right around the perimeter of Adelaide.
There are also young faultlines running through the Mornington Peninsula outside Melbourne, the Strzelecki Ranges in Victoria and the Flinders Ranges
in South Australia.
The map below from the National Earthquake Information Center (part of the USGS) shows the distribution of earthquakes in the region over a 30 year
Seismic Hazard Map, Australia
Australia is an old, settled continent, but geologically it's not quite at peace. Old faults and residual strains from its geologic past still result
in a few felt events each year and a measurable risk of shaking for some areas.
Fault lines' inactive rating a spur for nuclear reactor
By Richard Macey
September 5 2002
Construction of Australia's new nuclear research reactor is likely to get the go-ahead after findings that geological fault lines under the site pose
Building of the $320 million project started in April, but stopped two months later after fault lines were discovered slicing straight through the
Lucas Height excavation site.
Three groups, including the New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, an American consultancy and Australian specialists were
commissioned to investigate. It is understood all three have found it is safe to resume work, although they did not agree on the exact age of the
faults or their cause.
The Americans are believed to have found that although earthquakes may have caused the faults, the tremors happened more than 50 million years ago and
the area is now inactive.