Now it's boom-hill

17 Oct, 2007 09:00 PM

THE aftershocks of one of the biggest earthquakes to hit the Great Southern in 40 years were still being felt in the area this week.

The 4.8 magnitude earthquake shook houses in the Broomehill area and there were reports of shock waves being felt as far away as Perth.

It is believed the epicentre of the quake was only 300 metres from Broomehill farmer Grant Taylor’s homestead.

Mr Taylor said the quake took place at around 8am last Wednes-day morning.

“I was sitting in my office at my desk checking my e-mails when there was an almighty boom,” he said. “Everything just jumped into the air, the computer ended up on my lap and all the pictures on the wall fell to the ground.

“I walked out into the main part of the house and there were glas-ses smashed in cupboards, and the kitchen bench, which is about four metres long and one metre wide, had come away from the wall.

“Cracks in the brickwork had opened up and there was also a crack across the driveway.

“It was all over in two seconds and I am lucky the house is only 12 years old, otherwise it may have been a lot worse.”

Mr Taylor said his neighbours had also suffered some damage out of the tremor.

“The neighbour to the north east has a stone and brick house and it was full of dust, while the neighbours to the south had some quite big cracks open up in their house,” he said.

Mr Taylor said there had been some small booms in the area as far back as July this year.

“I kept hearing these bangs, they sounded like sonic booms or mining explosions,” he said.

“When I heard one I would ring my neighbours, who are about two kilometres away, to see if they had heard them but they didn’t hear anything.

“About a month ago everything went quiet and I thought it had all settled down, that is until this big one last week.

“There are still booms being felt now. Geoscience Australia staff flew over this week to investigate the quake and they said the booms would continue for a while.

“The booms come in swarms.

“On the Thursday morning after the quake there were booms coming every 30 seconds — there would be one big one and then several small ones.”

Geoscience Australia senior seismologist Spiro Spiliopoulos said earthquakes of that magnitude were fairly uncommon in Australia.

“For the whole of the South West corner of WA, between Perth and Albany, it was the biggest earthquake in at least 40 years,” he said.

Another Geoscience Australia seismologist, Vic Dent, was in WA this week to investigate the earthquake site.

He said it could be classified as a major earthquake.

“We would probably only see earthquakes this size once a year in Australia,” he said.


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