The ABC’s James Bagnall has broken down the latest on a potential quake that could strike Australia’s west coast in just a matter of days.
Key points:A magnitude 6.7 quake could cause widespread damage to infrastructure and peopleThe epicentre is believed to be on the eastern edge of New South Wales in the state’s northern Maroochydore regionThe quakes will affect the state for several daysThe epicenter is believed in the Marooochydore regional district in New South, about 150 kilometres south of Perth, but the quakes is expected to hit the state overnight.
“We’re expecting the earthquake to be the strongest in New Zealand for some time to come, possibly until late next week,” Acting Chief Meteorologist Michael MacKenzie said.
“If the quake is as strong as it looks to be, the damage could be enormous.”
The epicents of large earthquakes are rare and the epicentres are generally closer to the surface than they are in the center of the earth.
“The strongest earthquakes are often in the middle of the ocean, and that’s where they strike, which is where the epicenter would be, and the fault is going to be very, very deep,” Dr MacKlenzie said.
The epicence is also where a lot of earthquake-related damage occurs.
“Because the fault runs along the ocean floor, the ocean can absorb the shaking and you get a lot more energy back out of the system,” Dr McKlenzi said.
While the quasipoints magnitude indicates a possible magnitude 6 or greater, the epicents are typically closer to magnitude 5.5 and 6.0, he said.
Dr MacKlynnzi said the quake was not expected to have a significant impact on people or infrastructure.
“It’s likely to have very minor impacts, perhaps minor damage but very minor impact,” he said, noting it was more likely to be felt by people in the far west of New Zealand.
“A small earthquake is probably just going to feel like a small earthquake.”
He said the biggest damage would likely occur on the western side of the Maroogoo, which lies about 25 kilometres west of the epicenode.
“In that region, you’ll probably find a lot less people, because of the relatively flat land,” Dr McDunnzi said, adding that if the quake did cause damage to the land, it was likely to happen at higher elevations.
“So there will be a lot fewer people than the rest of New England,” Dr MacDonald said.
A small quake is unlikely to be damaging to people or property, but is likely to affect the landscapeDr MacMacKenzie warned that if there was an earthquake in New York City, it would likely have a large seismic wave.
“I don’t think that there is any real doubt that a large earthquake will happen there.
So it could happen in New Jersey, it could possibly happen in Rhode Island, and it could be in California, but probably it won’t,” he added.
The strongest earthquake in the world, the 2009 temblor off the coast of Chile, shook parts of New Jersey and Rhode Island for about 12 hours.
A magnitude 7.6 quake struck off the west coast of California in October, causing extensive damage.
A large earthquake was recorded off the east coast of the US last week, but experts believe the damage was not as severe.
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