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Geoscience Australia monitors seismic data from more than 60 stations on the Australian National Seismograph Network and in excess of 300 stations worldwide in near real-time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visible wave-motion of the ground surface reported. If the people or buildings are on soft ground such as old river sediments, the MM intensity experienced may be one to two units higher; if on solid rock, it may be one unit lower.

The International Seismological Centre led this project which reassessed the location and magnitude of approximately 20 000 historical earthquakes worldwide as part of an effort to extend and improve their database of seismic events. Australia's largest recorded earthquake was in 1988 at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, with an estimated magnitude 6.6, but it occurred in a sparsely populated area.

What does this information add to our understanding of Australian seismicity? A magnitude 6.5 earthquake at Meckering in 1968 caused extensive damage to buildings and was felt over most of southern Western Australia.

In 2016, Geoscience Australia revised the magnitudes of some of Australia's historical earthquakes as part of an international project to reassess the magnitude estimates of earthquakes around the globe. Large shallow earthquakes also happen where two plates are pulling apart with the creation of new oceanic crust along mid-ocean ridges and on the transform faults that intersect them.

This project aimed to revise historic earthquake measurements to more accurately reflect their true size based on modernised measuring techniques. Shallow intraplate earthquakes occur in the relatively stable interior of continents away from plate boundaries.

* The earthquakes listed above have epicentres on the Australian mainland or adjacent to the Australian coast. Although Australia is not on the edge of a plate, the continent experiences earthquakes because the Indo-Australian plate is being pushed north and is colliding with the Eurasian, Philippine and Pacific plates.

More information about these historical events can be viewed through the earthquake storymap. This causes the build up of mainly compressive stress in the interior of the Indo-Australian plate which is released during earthquakes.

Earthquakes are the vibrations caused by rocks breaking under stress.

The underground surface along which the rock breaks and moves is called a fault plane.

The times at which the differing seismic waves arrive at various seismometers are identified by Seismic Analysts or by a computer system.

The arrival times of the seismic waves at the seismometers, together with the locations of the seismometers and the speed at which the seismic waves travel to the seismometers are all used to determine the location of the earthquake.