Repeat of 1954 quake would cost $1 billion: experts

Wednesday, 18 February 2004

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of Adelaide's biggest and most destructive earthquake, experts claim a similar quake today would cost more than $1 billion.

To mark the passing of Adelaide's 1954 earthquake, three of South Australia's foremost earthquake experts will speak at a free public lecture, hosted by former SA Governor Sir Eric Neal, at the University of Adelaide on Monday, March 1.

One of the speakers at the "Quake Wake" lecture will be Dr Mike Griffith from the University of Adelaide's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr Griffith says the 1954 quake measured 5.4 on the Richter Scale and caused enormous damage, particularly in Adelaide's southern suburbs.

"The quake, which happened at about 3.40am on March 1, 1954, was about the same size as the Newcastle earthquake in 1989," Dr Griffith says. "The Adelaide quake caused about £3 million damage but thankfully - and perhaps luckily - no-one died. If a similar quake occurred today, we estimate the cost would be more than $1 billion.

"The public lecture will look at the past, present and future of earthquakes and earthquake research in South Australia. We will be looking at just what the 1954 earthquake was like and how much damage it caused, what research is being done now to minimise the risk of earthquake damage, and how prepared we are to respond in the event of a similar quake occurring in the future."

The other two speakers at the "Quake Wake" public lecture are: Mr David Love, a Senior Seismologist with Primary Industries and Resources South Australia; and Mr Allan McDougall, State Emergency Management Training Officer with the State Disaster Organisation.

  • WHAT: "Quake Wake" free public lecture to mark the passing of 50th anniversary of 1954 Adelaide earthquake
  • WHERE: Bonython Hall, North Terrace, University of Adelaide
  • WHEN: 6pm to 7pm, Monday, March 1 (doors open at 5.30pm)


Contact Details

Professor Mike Griffith
(for buildings)
School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5451
Mobile: +61 417 197 225

David Love
(for seismology)
Business: +61 8 8463 3177

Allan McDougall
(for State disaster organisation preparedness)
Business: +61 8 8207 4314

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762