Close to a century after Sir Douglas Mawson made his 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), the data collected by his team is being used to help determine sea and land level change at Macquarie Island.
The long-term geological evidence would suggest that the Island itself might still be rising – but not so, the study has found. The Island is clearly subsiding, most probably still in response to an earthquake in 1924. This has exacerbated the local influence of sea level rise.
In an unexpected twist, a major earthquake located north of the Island in 2004 has been shown to effect the entire south-east portion of the Australian continent – shifting the city of Hobart by a massive 6 mm and slightly changing the direction of Tasmania's underlying plate motion.
A team led by Dr Christopher Watson, from the Surveying and Spatial Science Group in the UTAS School of Geography and Environmental Studies, has been comparing Mawson’s sea level observations to modern records. The team has also been using satellite measurements to determine the motion of the land.
'Mawson, Macquarie Island and Sea Levels' is featured in the current edition of Research to Reality, a regular research publication produced by UTAS Communications and Media Office for the office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research). It is published three to four times a year and features research projects at various stages of their cycle from initial funding, preliminary research or at their conclusion.
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31 January, 2011