Earthquake map shows Tennant creek as hot spot

ABC News Online

A new earthquake hazards map released by Geoscience Australia has revealed Tennant Creek is among the locations most likely to be affected by an earthquake.

The map shows a hot spot under Tennant Creek, along with Moe in Victoria and York and Kirwan in Western Australia. The Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, says the new information should help communities to plan for the possibilty of earthquakes.

"Although these maps do not enable us to predict earthquakes, they will allow engineers and planners to design and locate buildings and infrastructure so as to better protect our communities," Minister Ferguson said.

He said he also expects the modelling and data - which is publicly available online - will be used by emergency managers, researchers and the insurance industry.

It may also impact Australia building standards and codes in areas most likely to be affected by earthquakes. But the information reinforces fears that Muckaty station, around 100km from Tennant Creek, is not a suitable location for the Federal Government's proposed nuclear waste site.

Seismologists from Geoscience Australia developed the map according to the history of earthquakes in Australia. They said Australia has experienced 168 earthquakes above magnitude 5.0 since 1950, and last year alone, 82 earthquakes were recorded at a magnitude 3.0 or above.

In 1988, Tennant Creek was struck by a 6.7 magnitude earthquake, causing around $2.5m damage. At the time, senior seismologist from Geoscience Australia Dr Clive Collins said the quake may have been the region's last.

"We would think that the stress that caused those earthquakes has now been released and you wouldn't get another large one but it's something that really we don't know at this point," Dr Collins told 783 ABC Alice Springs at the time.

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