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Monitoring earthquake activity at Lake Glenmaggie

3 July 2024 | News
3 July 2024

Southern Rural Water has partnered with Melbourne-based Seismology Research Centre to install additional earthquake monitoring equipment at Lake Glenmaggie dam. 

The technology, known as a triaxial strong motion accelerographs or SMA, monitors the structural response of the dam to earthquakes.  

While Australia is regarded as a low earthquake hazard region, there was a 4.5 magnitude earthquake in June 2023 that was an aftershock of a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in September 2021, at Woods Point, 66 kilometres northwest of Lake Glenmaggie. Thankfully, the 2023 event was neither large enough or close enough to cause any damage but still provided useful insights to researchers, particularly on motion and vibration data. 

Principal Dams Engineer Aida Gibbons said the monitoring equipment was an essential risk tool. 

“We have plans in place for all types of emergencies, including earthquakes. This technology gives us peace of mind that should an earthquake occur, data can be provided near real time and assessments made quickly on the integrity of the dam structure and if the dam is operating as designed,” she said. 

“Monitoring data for the 2023 earthquake actually showed that the dam was stronger than previously assumed, which was important to know.” 

The Seismology Research Centre will manage and operate the equipment 24 hours per day, seven days per week, as part of the agreement with Southern Rural Water. 

Seismology Research Centre has the largest number of earthquake seismograph stations in Australia and clients include government and private organisations that require rapid notifications of earthquake epicentre locations and magnitudes to aid in the emergency management of assets and infrastructure, such as dams, buildings and power stations.