Mapping Earthquakes

By on 6 July, 2010

Australian seismologists have discovered a new way to locate earthquakes and map underground fault lines.

A team from the Australian National University and Geoscience Australia has developed a new technology which uses seismic wave recordings to more accurately map the extent of the quakes.

The Earthquake Risk Model (EQRM) lets scientists map the progress and origin of shockwaves hundreds of metres under the surface, which can’t be done with traditional locational techniques.

Seismologist David Robinson, who led the project, said the technique is in its infancy but could be hugely beneficial in measuring the impact of big earthquakes such as the 1989 Newcastle disaster.

"It's quite common for an earthquake of similar size to Newcastle to have an uncertainty on its location of the order of up to five kilometres," he told ABC News.

The technology could help scientists better understand the affects of earthquakes, so that their effect on buildings and infrastructure can be reduced.

Robinson said that products, such as the EQRM, lead directly to changes and improvements in risk mitigation measures such as building codes and insurance pricing.

An open source version of the EQRM is available for download online at Sourceforge.

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