Australia’s enigmatic earthquakes and ‘active’ faults; constraining seismic hazard in the absence of active tectonics


Compared to other continental settings far from plate boundaries, Australia has an anomalously high number of (historic) damaging and surface rupturing earthquakes. These events have largely occurred in the central and western cratonic regions, posing a low seismic hazard. However, historic seismicity and paleoseismology also show potentially large active faults in close proximity to population centres (e.g. Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra). Quantifying this seismic hazard is particularly difficult, as these historic events seem to defy typical assumptions about active faulting and active tectonics. These enigmatic ‘active’ faults raise interesting questions about strain, tectonics and how to best quantify seismic hazard away from active plate boundaries, which I will explore in this talk.


Tamarah is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford working in the Earthquake and Active Tectonics group and with COMET (the Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics). She completed her PhD thesis on historic Australian surface rupturing earthquakes at the University of Melbourne, and currently works on active faults in Central Asia with field-based and remote-sensing data. Her research focusses on continental active faults and surface rupturing earthquakes, with an aim to better understand seismic hazards, landscape evolution, and co-seismic processes away from plate boundaries.


This seminar will be held using the video conferencing software Zoom. If you would like the link, please email