Earthquake environmental effects produced by the Mw 6.1, 20th May 2016 Petermann earthquake, Australia

Tamarah R. King1, Mark C. Quigley, 1Dan Clark2 (1School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne; 2Geoscience Australia)

Tectonophysics, 2018


In May 2016 I was ~ 4 months into my PhD and preparing to leave for field-work in remote central Australia. Six days before my planned departure, the Mw 6.1 Petermann earthquake occurred just 300 km west of my planned field site. My partner and I drove the 2,200 km from Melbourne in three days, picked up Mark Quigley at the Yulara (Uluru/Ayers Rock) airport, and drove the final 150 km of single lane dirt track to the epicentre location.

At that point, we didn’t know if there was a surface rupture. But as we neared the epicentre, we noticed rock outcrops with clear fresh damage, and cracks along the road increasing in frequency. We camped on the approximate epicentre location and (based on the focal mechanism) knew the fault would be east of us (dipping SW), or west of us (dipping NE).

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