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Senior seismologist Clive Collins was on duty when the first signals from Tuesday's Christchurch earthquake registered on computer screens at Geoscience Australia's Canberra operations centre.

Collins and colleagues at the federal government agency could tell Christchurch had been hit by a devastating quake. The lines tracing ground movement, detected by seismographs on New Zealand's South Island, told a story of destruction. Collins says it is unclear whether Tuesday's quake was an aftershock of the September one. Aftershocks, which can continue for years, are caused when the crust relieves stresses set up by the original earthquake, he says: "The rock settles back into equilibrium."

A team including Gordon Lister, a professor in structural geology and tectonics at the Australian National University's research school of earth sciences, is conducting research it hopes could lead to earthquake forecasting. The method would use... read more

Publishing Date: 09/03/2011

As the residents of Queensland, Australia, turn to the mammoth task of cleaning up after the devastating floods over the last weeks, data from ESA's Earth observation satellites are showing potential for delivering more timely warnings.

The floods in Queensland have been the worst in decades – and with high waters now hitting parts of the southern state of Victoria, this disaster is not over yet.

Although the heavy rains in Australia have been triggered by... read more

Publishing Date: 26/01/2011

Australia is in need of an early warning system to increase its ability to manage natural disasters, according to Linlin Ge, associate professor at the University of New South Wales School of Surveying and Spatial Information Systems.
Writing in the Melbourne Age, Ge says the current floods in Queensland – where tens of thousands of people had only hours to prepare – could have been better managed if such a system were in place.
“Australia should have an early warning system that would allow authorities to predict flash floods and give a timely... read more

Publishing Date: 24/01/2011

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