Victoria’s alps are rising each year, according to an 18-month survey conducted by the Eastern Victoria Geoscience Initiative.
The 629km stretch of mountains from Benalla, Victoria to Eden, New South Wales is being pushed up by 0.1mm a year, the survey revealed. This is believed to be a side effect of New Zealand’s ongoing tectonic plate boundary collision, which moves its mountain regions up by 12mm every year. The 18-month survey went from the surface to 60km deep into the Earth’s crust.
While Victoria’s growth spurt may seem small, it has provided geoscientists with a number of practical insights. Ross Cayley, of the Geological Survey of Victoria (GSV), told connection.vic.gov.au it will now be easier for earthquake threats to be detected in Victoria due to the survey’s findings. It is also expected to help with infrastructure planning and management plans.
“The research can work out which regions of Eastern Victoria lie above and below major tilted faults, and so better estimate potential earthquake risk from these structures should they reactivate,” Cayley said.
Earthquakes reaching near magnitude 6.0 on the Richter scale have hit Victoria in the past, with regions in the state’s east lying above and below major tilted faults.
Mineral exploration will also receive a potential boost, with the survey expected to help locate geological deposits connected between NSW and Victoria. Despite the data being unable to pinpoint the specific location of a mineral deposit, it will be able to help geologists locate the correct district for mineral exploration.
Farming productivity and environmental management is also expected to be improved with the survey’s geological information.
The Eastern Victoria Geoscience Initiative began mapping the Victorian component of the Southeast Lachlan Crustal Transect in 2018. The project aims to improve understanding of southeast Australia’s underlying geological “architecture” from the surface to 60km deep within the Earth’s crust and includes the acquisition of fundamental geoscience datasets and applied geoscientific research. The findings will assist government to make better informed land management decisions to benefit the community, identify natural geological hazards, protect state infrastructure and manage earth resources.
The scientific results of the Initiative will be married up with results from a similar project in southeast New South Wales, providing a key geological reference for southeast Australia in terms of its geology and evolution over the past 500 million years.