A review of historical earthquakes in Queensland utilising the Trove newspaper archive as a primary source

Rubenach, David, Daniell, James, Dirks, Paul, and Wegner, Janice (2021) A review of historical earthquakes in Queensland utilising the Trove newspaper archive as a primary source. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 68 (4). pp. 473-497.

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Earthquakes are relatively rare in Queensland. Nevertheless, since European settlement, most parts of the state’s east coast have felt the impacts of several moderate to high-magnitude events. Knowledge of seismic activity in Queensland is limited owing to sparse historical seismograph coverage, and the relatively short period (ca 1825 onwards) for which records are available. Previously published compilations of observational records for several high-magnitude historical earthquakes and their effects on local communities are incomplete. The National Library of Australia Trove newspaper collection and newspaper microfilm records were used to document 12 moderate–high-magnitude earthquakes that impacted major population centres in Queensland between 1879 and 1958, before the establishment of effective seismic monitoring. The Trove newspaper collection facilitates access to details on the timing, duration and intensity of events, and the damage caused for many locations where these earthquakes were felt. Newspaper reports for the 12 earthquakes were used to define their regions of impact and a re-evaluation of felt radii, epicentre locations and magnitudes against previously published interpretations. The Trove records are consistent with existing interpretations for the Gayndah 1883, Atherton Tablelands 1928, Bundaberg 1918, Gayndah 1935 and Cairns 1958 events. In contrast, previously published interpretations for the Townsville 1879, Cairns 1896, Mundubbera 1910, Coalstoun Lakes/Kilcoy 1913, Ravenswood 1913, Daintree 1942 and Atherton 1950 earthquakes are not consistent with Trove records, which facilitate improved estimates of epicentre locations and magnitudes. This study has identified and documented three earthquakes in southern Queensland previously unrecognised in the seismological literature that impacted Degilbo in ca 1873, Nanango in 1876 and Toowoomba in 1877. Inconsistencies were found between data on an event that impacted Toowoomba in 1875 and Trove records. This review demonstrates the usefulness of the Trove archive to better identify and document the attributes and impacts of historical earthquakes.

Item ID: 67279
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-0952
Keywords: epicentre, historical earthquakes, magnitude, newspapers, Queensland, review, Trove
Copyright Information: © 2020 Geological Society of Australia
Research Data: https://doi.org/10.25903/5f4f18fd61010
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2022 04:51
Downloads: Total: 2
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