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  • At its nearest, northern Australia is just over 400 km from an active convergent plate margin. This complex and unique tectonic region combines active subduction and the collision of the Sunda-Banda Arc with the Precambrian North Australian Craton (NAC) near the Timor Trough and continues through to the New Guinea Highlands. Ground-motions generated from earthquakes on these structures have particular significance for northern Australian communities and infrastructure projects, with several large earthquakes in the Banda Arc region having caused ground-shaking-related damage in the northern Australian city of Darwin over the historical period. There are very few, if any, present-day tectonic analogs where cold cratonic crust abuts a convergent tectonic margin with subduction and continent-continent collision. Ground motions recorded from earthquakes in typical subduction environments are highly attenuated as they travel through young sediments associated with forearc accretionary prisms and volcanic back-arc regions. In contrast, seismic energy from earthquakes in the northern Australian plate margin region are efficiently channelled through the low-attenuation NAC, which acts as a waveguide for high-frequency earthquake shaking. As such, it is difficult to select models appropriate to the region for seismic hazard assessments. The development of a far-field ground-motion model to support future seismic hazard assessments for northern Australia is discussed. In general, the new model predicts larger ground motions in Australia from plate margin sources than models used for the 2018 National Seismic Hazard Assessment of Australia, none of which were considered fully appropriate for the tectonic environment. Short-period ground motions are strongly dependent on hypocentral depth and are significantly higher than predictions from commonly-used intraslab ground-motion models at comparable distances. The depth dependence in ground motion diminishes with increasing spectra periods. <b>Cite this article as</b> Allen, T. I. (2021). A Far-Field Ground-Motion Model for the North Australian Craton from Plate-Margin Earthquakes, <i>Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. </i><b> 112</b>, 1041–1059, doi: 10.1785/0120210191

  • Seismic hazard models, commonly produced through probabilistic seismic hazard analysis, are used to establish earthquake loading requirements for the built environment. However, there is considerable uncertainty in developing seismic hazard models, which require assumptions on seismicity rates and ground-motion models (GMMs) based on the best evidence available to hazard analysts. This paper explores several area-based tests of long-term seismic hazard forecasts for the Australian continent. ShakeMaps are calculated for all earthquakes of MW 4.25 and greater within approximately 200 km of the Australian coastline using the observed seismicity in the past 50 years (1970-2019). A “composite ShakeMap” is generated that extracts the maximum peak ground acceleration “observed” in this 50-year period for any site within the continent. The fractional exceedance area of this composite map is compared with four generations of Australian seismic hazard maps for a 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years (~1/500 annual exceedance probability) developed since 1990. In general, all these seismic hazard models appear to be conservative relative to the observed ground motions that are estimated to have occurred in the last 50 years. To explore aspects of possible prejudice in this study, the variability in ground-motion exceedance was explored using the Next Generation Attenuation-East GMMs developed for the central and eastern United States. The sensitivity of these results is also tested with the interjection of a rare scenario earthquake with an expected regional recurrence of approximately 5,000 - 10,000 years. While these analyses do not provide a robust assessment of the performance of the candidate seismic hazard for any given location, they do provide—to the first order—a guide to the performance of the respective maps at a continental scale. This paper was presented at the Australian Earthquake Engineering Society 2021 Virtual Conference, Nov 25 – 26.

  • A database of recordings from moderate-to-large magnitude earthquakes is compiled for earthquakes in western and central Australia. Data are mainly recorded by Australian National Seismograph Network (ANSN), complemented with data from temporary deployments, and covering the period of 1990 to 2019. The dataset currently contains 1497 earthquake recordings from 164 earthquakes with magnitudes from MW 2.5 to 6.1, and hypocentral distances up to 1500 km. The time-series data are consistently processed to correct for the instrument response and to reduce the effect of background noise. A range of ground-motion parameters in the time and frequency domains are calculated and stored in the database. Numerous near-source recordings exceed peak accelerations of 0.10 g and range up to 0.66 g, while the maximum peak velocity of the dataset exceeds 27 cm/s. In addition to its utility for engineering design, the dataset compiled herein will improve characterisation of ground-motion attenuation in the region and will provide an excellent supplement to ground-motion datasets collected in analogue seismotectonic regions worldwide. This paper was presented at the Australian Earthquake Engineering Society 2021 Virtual Conference, Nov 25 – 26.

  • Seismic hazard modelling is a multi-disciplinary science that aims to forecast earthquake occurrence and its resultant ground shaking. Such seismic hazard models consist of a probabilistic framework that models the flow of uncertainty across a complex system; typically, this includes at least two model-components developed from earth science: seismic source models, and ground motion prediction models. Although there is no scientific prescription for the length of the forecasting time-window, the most common probabilistic seismic hazard analyses (PSHA hereafter) consider forecasting probabilities of ground shaking in time windows of 30 to 50 years. These types of models are the target of this review paper. Although the core methods and assumptions of such a modelling have largely remained unchanged since they were first developed more than 50 years ago, we will review the most recent initiatives which are facing the difficult task of meeting both the increasingly sophisticated demands of society and keeping pace with advances in our scientific understanding. A need for more accurate and precise hazard forecasting must be balanced with increased quantification of uncertainty and new challenges such as moving from time-independent hazard to forecasts that are time-dependent and specific to the time-period of interest. Meeting these challenges requires the development of science-driven models which integrate at best all information available, the adoption of proper mathematical frameworks to quantify the different types of uncertainties in the source and ground motion components of the hazard model, and the development of a proper testing phase of the hazard model to quantify the consistency and skill of the hazard model. We review the state-of-the-art of the national seismic hazard modeling, and how the most innovative approaches try to address future challenges.

  • Public concerns have been raised about the potential for induced seismicity as state and territory governments lift moratoriums on hydraulic stimulation activities for the exploration and extraction of unconventional hydrocarbons. The Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory articulated the need for a traffic-light system “to minimise the risk of occurrence of seismic events during hydraulic fracturing operations” within the Beetaloo Sub-basin. A temporary seismic network (Phase 1) was deployed in late 2019 to monitor baseline seismic activity in the basin. Based on the data analysed herein (November 2019 – April 2021), no seismic events were identified within the area of interest suggesting that the Beetaloo Sub-basin is largely aseismic. Observations to date indicate that there is potential to identify events smaller than ML=1.5 within the basin. The recent installation of ten semi-permanent stations for continuous real-time monitoring will contribute to ongoing baseline monitoring efforts and support the implementation of an induced seismicity traffic-light system. The outcome of this study will be used to build knowledge about potential human-induced seismic activity in the region that may be associated with unconventional hydrocarbon recovery. This paper was presented at the Australian Earthquake Engineering Society 2021 Virtual Conference, Nov 25 – 26.

  • Here we undertake a statistical analysis of local magnitudes (ML) calculated using the two real-time earthquake monitoring software platforms use by Geoscience Australia (GA) since 2005, Antelope and Seiscomp. We examine a database of just over 10 years duration, during a period in which both systems were in operation and over 4000 earthquakes were located and magnitudes estimated. We examine the consistency of both single-station and network ML estimates of both systems, with a view toward determining guidelines for combining them into a single catalogue, as well as for determining best practice in the for the estimation of local magnitudes for regions of sparse seismic networks. Once this guidance has been developed, it is the intention of GA to re-process magnitudes for all earthquakes using a consistent approach where digital data are available and can be integrated within the currently-used SeisComP system. This paper was presented at the Australian Earthquake Engineering Society 2021 Virtual Conference, Nov 25 – 26.

  • Damaging earthquakes in Australia and other regions characterised by low seismicity are considered low probability but high consequence events. Uncertainties in modelling earthquake occurrence rates and ground motions for damaging earthquakes in these regions imposes unique challenges on forecasting seismic hazard and the use of this information for improving seismic safety within our communities. Key challenges for these regions are explored, including: the quality and continuity of earthquake catalogues; the difficulties in characterising earthquake ground motions; the uncertainties in earthquake source modelling, and; the consideration of modern earthquake hazard information to support future building provisions.

  • Seismicity in the intraplate southwest of Western Australia is poorly understood, despite evidence for potentially damaging earthquakes of magnitude>M6. Identifying stress-focusing geological structures near significant earthquake sequences assists in understanding why these earthquakes occur in seemingly random locations across a region of more than 250 000 km2. On 16 September 2018, an ML5.7 earthquake occurred near Lake Muir in the southwest of Western Australia and was followed by an ML5.4 aftershock. The main earthquake formed a mainly northtrending fault scarp ~5 km in length and with a maximum vertical displacement of ~40 cm. The main event was followed by a series of aftershocks, one of which had a magnitude of ML5.4. Using high-resolution aeromagnetic data, we analyse bedrock geology in a wide area surrounding the new scarp and map a series of major east–west-trending faults segmenting eight distinct geological domains, as well as a network of less prominent northwest-trending faults, one of which aligns with the southern segment of the scarp. Surface faulting, surface deformation and earthquake focal mechanism studies suggest movements on north- and northeast-trending structures. The main shock, the aftershocks, surface faulting and changes in InSAR-derived surface elevation all occur in a region bounded to the south by a prominent northwest-trending fault and to the north by a west-northwest-trending domain-bounding structure. Thus, we interpret the north-trending thrust fault associated with the main Lake Muir event as due to local stress concentration of the regional east–west stress field at the intersection of these structures. Further, we propose that a particularly large west-northwest-trending structure may be broadly focusing stress in the Lake Muir area. These findings encourage similar studies to be undertaken in other areas of Australia’s southwest to further the current understanding of seismic release in the region. <b>Citation: </b>S. Standen, M. Dentith & D. Clark (2021) A geophysical investigation of the 2018 Lake Muir earthquake sequence: reactivated Precambrian structures controlling modern seismicity,<i>Australian Journal of Earth Sciences</i>, 68:5, 717-730, DOI: 10.1080/08120099.2021.1848924

  • Coseismically displaced rock fragments (chips) in the near-field (less than 5 km) of the 2016 moment magnitude (MW) 6.1 Petermann earthquake (Australia) preserve directionality of strong ground motions. Displacement data from 1437 chips collected over an area of 100 km2 along and across the Petermann surface rupture is interpreted to record combinations of co-seismic directed permanent ground displacements associated with elastic rebound (fling) and transient ground shaking, with intensities of motion increasing with proximity to the surface rupture. The observations provide a proxy test for available models for directionality of near-field reverse fault strong ground motions in the absence of instrumental data. This study provides a dense proxy record of strong ground motions at less than 5 km distance from a surface rupturing reverse earthquake, and may help test models of near-field dynamic and static pulse-like strong ground motion for dip-slip earthquakes.

  • The 20 May 2016 surface-rupturing intraplate earthquake in the Petermann Ranges is the largest onshore earthquake to occur in the Australian continent in 19 yr. We use in situ and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar surface observations, aftershock distribution, and the fitting of P-wave source spectra to determine source properties of the Petermann earthquake. Surface observations reveal a 21-km-long surface rupture trace (strike = 294°±29°) with heterogeneous vertical displacements ( <0:1–0:96 m). Aftershock arrays suggest a triangular-shaped rupture plane (dip ≈ 30°) that intersects the subsurface projection of the major geophysical structure (Woodroffe thrust [WT]) proximal to the preferred location of the mainshock hypocenter, suggesting the mainshock nucleated at a fault junction. Footwall seismicity includes apparent southwest-dipping Riedel-type alignments, including possible activation of the deep segment of the WT. We estimate a moment magnitude (Mw) of 6.0 and a corner frequency (fc) of 0.2 Hz, respectively, from spectral fitting of source spectra in the 0.02–2 Hz frequency band. These translate into a fault area of 124 km2 and an average slip of 0.36 m. The estimated stress drop of 2.2 MPa is low for an intraplate earthquake; we attribute this to low-frictional slip (effective coefficient of friction >0:015) along rupture-parallel phyllosilicate-rich surfaces within the host rock fabric with possible additional contributions from elevated pore-fluid pressures.