New tsunami data for Australia released

New data released today reveal the northwest coast of Western Australia is more likely to experience a tsunami than any other region in the country – although the possibility remains low.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the data were released as part of the latest update to the Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Assessment (PTHA) developed by Geoscience Australia.

“The assessment finds the northwest coast of Western Australia is more likely than the east or southwest coasts to experience a tsunami because of its proximity to the active earthquake zone on the Indonesia plate boundary,” Minister Canavan said.

“Although tsunamis are rare, there have been more than 50 recorded incidents of tsunamis affecting the Australian coast since European settlement. The largest of these impacts have been recorded along the northwest coast.”

Minister Canavan said the latest update to the PTHA is the first since 2008 and has been released today to coincide with the United Nations’ World Tsunami Awareness Day.

“The 2018 update to the PTHA models how frequently tsunamis of any given size occur along the Australian coast, and includes data for more than half a million potential earthquake-tsunami scenarios.

“Geoscience Australia and other tsunami modellers will use the 2018 PTHA to develop local tsunami inundation models, which will help in disaster risk management and evacuation plans, as well as infrastructure planning and mitigation strategies.

“An earthquake oriented in just the right way could generate a tsunami that could have major consequences for Australia. Understanding the tsunami hazard and knowing what to do is critical. The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre ensures that all Australians have at least 90 minutes’ warning time to take action,” Minister Canavan said.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre is operated by Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology.

For more information about the PTHA visit the Geoscience Australia website.

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