Cause Of The Newcastle Earthquake In Australia

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The Newcastle Earthquake occurred on 28 December 1989 with a magnitude of 5.6M. Although the earthquake did not measure very high on the Richter scale, it was shallow and that is why it shook Newcastle more than a deeper earthquake. The tremor left 13 people dead and hundreds of people injured and needing hospital treatments. The devastation to property was huge and caused damages to 3000 buildings, 35,000 homes and 147 schools. This earthquake quickly became one of Australia’s most serious natural disasters. The seismograms confirmed that the focus of the earthquake was 10 to 12 km deep within the crust under Boolaroo, an outer suburb of Lake Macquarie. The quake was also felt 163 kilometres south in Sydney and 281 kilometres north in Kempsey.
Facts and figures of the earthquake can be found here.
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In 2007, Dr Christian Klose, from Columbia’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory presented a new theory that the earthquake was prompted by two hundred years of coalmining. Dr Klose theorised that because of coalmining, stress in the Earth’s crust started to change and over time this caused the tremor. Another Australian report pointed out other factors that may have contributed to the unfortunate natural disaster. It mentioned that minor tremors in the nearby Hunter Valley region prior to the Newcastle Earthquake might have created a fault line that led to the earthquake. Australian Geo-scientists disagree with Dr Klose’s theory and say that because the epicentre of the earthquake was too deep underground, it is not likely to the caused by extensive coalmining. More information about Dr Klose’s theory can be found

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