Earthquake showing broken chimney on house

Around 9.15am on September 22 our area was part of a large area of southern Australia to experience a 5.8 magnitude earthquake which shook houses and had them swaying and rattling.

The epicentre was ten kilometres below the earth’s surface near Mansfield and was felt across Victoria, into Tasmania, as far as Newcastle in New South Wales and Adelaide in South Australia.

Earthquakes form when there is an accumulation of pressure in the ground. Victoria has many fractures or faults in the ground which formed millions of years ago. The earth’s crust is made up of tectonic plates. Where boundaries of these plates occur, more severe earthquakes occur as in New Zealand and Japan and the west coast of the United States.

Australia is not on a tectonic boundary but from time to time movement from outside Australia exerts pressure as the tectonic boundary of the Pacific is pushing towards Australia. Even though it is far away it can still exert some pressure on our east coast, as with the Newcastle earthquake in 1989. This pressure needs to be released from time to time and in fact Victoria experiences many earthquakes per year, most of which are not felt. Every five to twenty years there will be a bigger earthquake.

Earthquake - Cracked Road

Because we were a significant distance from the epicentre we did not feel the full strength of force.

The increase of one in magnitude of an earthquake will produce thirty times the strength of the earthquake.

The amount of movement caused by an earthquake depends on three factors, the magnitude of the earthquake, the closeness to the epicentre and the type of ground where you are. Clay based ground as in Churchill, is more prone to movement.

The Earthquake gave cause for Churchill Lions to help out yet again at Licola as we are heavily involved there and have our own House No 3. Licola was the closest to the epicentre and took quite a hard hit. Following a request from the Manager Trevor Carstein to our member Lion Peter Savage (who is also a Licola Board Member) Peter asked some of our other members to come along up to Licola to help with the cleanup but then with the threat of aftershocks and a great crack in the road, the idea was abandoned until further notice.

Lots of small aftershocks are constant but nothing too much to worry about.