What they are, how they are caused and what to do when they happen


The science of earthquakes

Geoscience Australia provides information on the science of earthquakes, as well as capabilities and research.

The movement of the earth's tectonic plates is important in understanding earthquakes. 

A map has now been developed that fills a 500-million year gap in Earth's history and predicts how the tectonic plates have moved through earth's history

This video, produced by researchers form the University of Adelaide and University of Sydney is the the first published whole-Earth plate tectonic map of half a billion years of Earth history, from 1,000 million years ago to 520 million years ago.



Australian earthquakes, 2014, Geoscience Australia

 A short animation showing earthquakes occurring in Australia during 2014, presented as a timelapse.

2014 was a relatively quiet year for Australian earthquakes. Most earthquake events measured less than magnitude 4, which is considered small and unlikely to cause damage. Only seven earthquakes in 2014 were magnitude 4.0 or larger, and these were felt throughout the regions in which they occurred. 

On average, Australia tends to get one magnitude 5 per year. 



Being safe in an earthquake zone

Under Australia's emergency management arrangements, state and territory organisations are the primary agencies responsible for earthquake safety.  Typically, these responsibilities rest with the State Emergency Services or combined emergency service agencies.