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Will Australia have to cope with a tsunami?

Australians has a number of homegrown natural hazards, from bushfires in summer to storms in winter, cyclones up north and flooding along our rivers. But it doesn’t often stop to consider the threat posed by tsunamis.

The vast majority of tsunamis occur at “subduction zone” tectonic plate boundaries, where two tectonic plates are colliding. Indonesia and Japan are both close to active subduction zones that cause tsunamis on a relatively regular basis. Australia is relatively lucky when it comes to tsunamis. Australia sits in the middle of a tectonic plate, some distance from the nearest subduction zones.

For most of New South Wales, a tsunami with a maximum offshore wave height of 40cm will occur, on average, once every 100 years. In northwest Western Australia, the maximum wave height likely to occur once every 100 years increases is up to 1m.

Even thou a lucky country when it comes to tsunamis and highly unlikely to see an event like what occurred in Japan in 2011 on its shores. That doesn’t mean that Australia is immune to tsunamis and further research will provide the evidence needed to be prepared. Organizations such as the NSW State Emergency Service are taking no chances and planning evacuation zones for major cities

For more information, go to theconversation.com/making-waves-the-tsunami-risk-in-australia-60623

 

Top image for illurstration purposes only and taken by David Rydevik

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Neil Bibby was Chief Executive Officer of the Country Fire Authority between 2002 and 2009 and Managing Director People and Innovation