Victorian Earthquake Round-up

Geophysics Sep 29, 2021

What do earthquakes like this one teach us about  the structure and dynamics of the Australian crust ?

This is a collection of news articles and other resources about last week's earthquake that discuss the event itself, put it into a geological and geophysical context and gives an insight into the people behind the science.

(Note, if you have suggestions for information we can include in this page, please share in the comments). There are links to some interesting tweets and links in the comments section at the end of the page.

In the News

Not a comprehensive list, but some interesting "explainer" articles

Melbourne rocked by Victoria’s biggest earthquake on record
A record magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck in a remote part of Victoria, Australia, on 22 September, damaging buildings in Melbourne but not causing any fatalities
Magnitude 6 earthquake hits Victoria, felt across NSW. ACT
An earthquake believed to be centred in regional Victoria has damaged buildings in Melbourne and was felt as far away as Tasmania, the ACT and NSW.
Making sense of Victoria’s shock earthquake
An expert explains the magnitude-6 earthquake that rattled the nerves of Victorians and others living on Australia’s east coast on Wednesday.
This pavlova shows how we get earthquakes in Australia
Australia is only rocked by damaging earthquakes like today’s about twice a year. Here’s how.
Why you felt the Victorian earthquake at your place
The 5.9 earthquake was felt far and wide.
Victorian earthquake explained: why did it happen and why was the impact relatively mild?
The magnitude 5.9 quake was the largest in Victoria’s recorded history and likely occurred along the deep faultline that separates Melbourne from the alpine region

Geology and Geophysics

Moderate quake rattles southeastern Australia. Where’s the fault? -
The magnitude-5.9 earthquake reminded residents that Victoria is active — geologically speaking — but identifying the fault responsible is complicated.
Australia surprised by moderate quake, but rumbling is not unusual -
Like a tree falling in the forest, if there is no one around to feel it, then an earthquake goes unnoticed. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
5.8 magnitude Mansfield earthquake reflects compressive intraplate stress reactivating deep faults – EarthByte
The earthquake that rattled Melbourne was among Australia’s biggest in half a century, but rock records reveal far mightier ones
The geological record tells us we have had earthquakes in Australia’s deeper past much larger — possibly up to and bigger than magnitude 7.0.

Where to find the Data

For any earthquake in Australia, check first with Geoscience Australia.

Geoscience Australia monitors, analyses and reports on significant earthquakes to alert the Australian Government, State and Territory Governments and the public about earthquakes in Australia and overseas.

The Seismology Research Centre has a detailed analysis of the event and the aftershock sequence.

Largest Earthquake in Victoria’s history - Seismology Research Centre
The magnitude MLv5.8 (Mw5.9) earthquake on 22 September 2021 at 9:15am local time was the largest to occur in the state of Victoria since record-keeping began around 200 years ago. The epicentre of the earthquake was located 127km from our office in Melbourne, and was recorded on an old digital… Con…

Victorian earthquakes fall into the domain of the Geological Survey of Victoria, and they have a page of resources you can read for this event.

Unpacking Victoria’s earthquake – 22 September 2021

AuScope Seismometers in Schools (here is one of their tweets about the event)

Earthquakes and Seismic Hazard

What to do in an earthquake and how to be prepared (including, what to look for when you are travelling to an earthquake-prone region.

Earthquakes down under: a rare but real hazard
Australia is generally regarded as a flat and seismically inert continent that is safe from any serious earthquake hazard. While this is generally true, we do occasionally experience moderate earthquakes…
How earthquake science supports decision-making in the ancient continent
Australian earthquakes pose a high consequence – low likelihood risk that is widespread across the continent but is often not well characterised for some of Australia’s most important infrastructure.


Louis Moresi

Geodynamicist and Computational Modeller at the Australian National University. Geo★ Down Under evangelist and editor.