Friday 23 March 2012

Central Australia hit by major Earthquake.

At 7.55 pm on Friday 23 March 2012, local time (9.25 am GMT) a strong Earthquake shook the Ngarutjara Homeland in northern part South Australia, close to the border with the Northern Territory. The quake was measured as having a magnitude of 6.1 on the Richter Scale and a depth of 3 km by Geoscience Australia, and a magnitude of 5.6 on the Richer Scale at a depth of 10.7 km by the United States Geological Survey. Such an Earthquake could be potentially devastating in a densely populated area, but is not thought to have caused any serious damage or casualties, due to the low population and lack of high-rise buildings in the area where it hit. Locals are reported to be 'very concerned', however.

The location of the Ngarutjara Homeland Earthquake. USGS.

The cause of this Earthquake is not immediately clear. Central Australia is one of the least quake-prone places on the Earth; far less so than Western Europe or Eastern North America. The nearest plate boundaries run through New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and southern Indonesia, and these are boundaries with Oceanic, rather than continental plates, and therefore do not cause compression in the Australian continent (the major source of Earthquakes in Eurasia).