Seismic rumbles send Macquarie Island expeditioners up the hill 2 April 2024

Australian Antarctic Division

Australian expeditioners on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island Research Station conducted a high-ground evacuation drill after a series of earthquakes shook the island in March. Three earthquakes hit an area of the Southern Ocean some 500 kilometres south of Macquarie Island, the biggest a magnitude 6.8.

While the station is always at the ready for seismic activity, three earthquakes in eight days provided motivation for an extra drill.

Station Leader Justine Thompson says while the impact area was a long way from the island, it was still felt by many of the expeditioners.

“You could definitely hear and feel in your feet a deep rumbling,” she said.

Geoscience Australia monitors seismic activity across the globe and the Australian Antarctic Program has monitoring equipment at several Antarctic research stations, including Macquarie Island.

The data recorded from the stations forms part of the global seismograph network that monitors earthquakes world-wide.

As sell as seismic activity monitoring, Australia’s 70-year presence on the island also includes long-term scientific monitoring of wildlife, climate data and radiation monitoring, to detect evidence of nuclear explosions.

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