An intense earthquake in 1989 shook the Newcastle to devastation, causing billions of dollars worth of damage killing 13 people. But, what was the cause behind Australia’s first recorded fatal earthquake?
According to a United States academic, two centuries of coal mining have led to this devastating quake.
Explaining the cumulative impact of the indiscriminate centuries-long mining in the region, Dr Christian Klose from the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory says that the mines went on weakening and reactivating a major fault line below Newcastle, eventually leading to the quake.
Dr Klose said,
Coal mining started 200 years ago in Newcastle, so if you apply this data to the model, you see how the stress changed. Humans are one part to contribute to the stress change in the crust.
As a solution to such natural calamity-triggering activities, he suggested,
You have two chances to avoid this, whether you reduce the hazard or reduce the vulnerability – so whether you mine in a more sustainable way or have urban planning in other areas, away from the mining regions.
File photo: ABC TV