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Deadly Newcastle earthquake that killed 13 people 30 years ago could happen again, experts say

Deadly magnitude 5.6 Newcastle earthquake that killed 13 people 30 years ago could happen again at any time, experts warn

  • Expert warned another deadly earthquake could rock NSW again in the future
  • Almost 30 years since the 1989 Newcastle earthquake which killed 13 residents
  • Warning comes as 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the Banda Sea was felt in Darwin 
  • Seismologist Jonathan Bathgate says deadly disaster could happen again

Experts fear another deadly earthquake could rock New South Wales at any time, causing widespread devastation and putting lives in danger.

This year marks 30 years since a 5.6 magnitude earthquake devastated the city of Newcastle, 160 kilometres north of Sydney.

Thirteen people were killed while another 160 were hospitalised on December 28, 1989 in what remains one of Australia’s most serious natural disasters.

Another deadly earthquake like the 1989 Newcastle disaster (pictured) could happen again. Pictured is Newcastle Workers Club, where nine of the 13 fatalities were killed

The warning of another deadly disaster comes as 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the Banda Sea was felt 700 kilometres away in Darwin on Monday, sparking widespread evacuations across the city. 

While earthquake activity in NSW is ‘generally small’, another deadly disaster could hit again, Geoscience Australia seismologist Dr Jonathan Bathgate warned.

The Newcastle disaster was an intraplate earthquake, which occurs within the interior of a tectonic plate.

They are relatively rare compared to the more common boundary-located interplate earthquakes like the one that was felt in Darwin on Monday.

Thirteen people were killed and another 160 were rushed to hospital on December 29, 1989

Thirteen people were killed and another 160 were rushed to hospital on December 29, 1989

While uncommon, intraplate earthquakes can inflict heavy damage.

Newcastle’s deadly earthquake disaster 

The city was rocked by a 5.6 magnitude earthquake on the morning of December 28, 1989

13 people were killed while 160 were rushed to hospital

Of the 50,000 buildings damaged, 80 per cent were homes 

The worst affected was Newcastle Workers Club, where nine were killed

‘You get stress built up in the plate along local fault lines like in Newcastle,’ Dr Bathgate told The Daily Telegraph.

‘We can’t predict earthquakes but having seen earthquakes in the past, it’s certainly something that’s possible that could occur.’ 

No injuries or damage were reported in Darwin on Monday, the second earthquake to hit Australia’s Top End within four weeks.

Central Australia was rocked by a 5.4 magnitude earthquake that could be felt from 350 kilometres away on May 30.

While earthquake activity in NSW is 'generally small', devastating damage similar to the havoc caused in Newcastle 30 years ago (pictured) could happen again

While earthquake activity in NSW is ‘generally small’, devastating damage similar to the havoc caused in Newcastle 30 years ago (pictured) could happen again

Newcastle residents struggled to free those trapped in the devastating damage

Newcastle residents struggled to free those trapped in the devastating damage

The 1989 Newcastle earthquake caused an estimated $4 billion worth of damage and was felt in other parts of NSW up to 800 kilometres away.

Of the 50,000 buildings had been damaged, 80 per cent were homes, affecting 300,000 residents and leaving 1,000 homeless.

Among the worst affected areas was Beaumont Street in the inner-city suburb of Hamilton, where three pedestrians were crushed to death when awnings above them crashed to the ground.

But the worst hit was Newcastle Workers Club, where nine of 13 fatalities occurred.

The death toll would have much higher had the earthquake struck later than night, when Crowded House were scheduled to perform there.

Of the 50,000 buildings damaged in the 1989 Newcastle earthquake,80 per cent were homes

Of the 50,000 buildings damaged in the 1989 Newcastle earthquake,80 per cent were homes

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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