ARC Centre of Excellence Geotechnical Science & Engineering

RHD Students

James Hengesh

RHD Students


Earthquake and Geological Hazards on Australia’s North West Shelf


The proposed research programme will develop tectonic, seismological, geomorphological and geotechnical data to characterize earthquake and geological hazard processes along Australia’s North West Shelf. The programme will involve:

(I) Tectonic Analysis and Seismic Source Characterization - Activities include: (i) developing a seismotectonic model for the North West Shelf that addresses fault reactivation and earthquake occurrence along relict rifted margin structures; (ii) documenting the location, style and rates of tectonic deformation; and (iii) revising and updating the seismic source model for Australia’s Northwest Shelf to improve inputs to ground motion assessments.

(II) Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis – Activities include: (i) developing a regional ground motion contour map for the Northwest Shelf; (ii) assessing the sensitivity of model results to various combinations of source input parameters.

(III) Regional Geomorphological Analysis and Landslide Mapping – Activities include: (i) developing a composite high-resolution bathymetric map for a selected area on Exmouth Plateau that extends from the continental shelf across the continental slope to the continental rise; and (ii) conducting detailed geological and geomorphological mapping to assess locations and characteristics of submarine landslide features; and (iii) developing a slope process model to characterize the locations and types of failures that occur in the study area.

(IV) Landslide Triggering and Stability Analysis - Activities include: (i) documenting the length, width, height and thickness characteristics of several submarine mass transport complexes; (ii) evaluating slope stability attributes and landslide triggering mechanisms; and (iii) documenting slide run-out and flow pathways.

Why my research is important

This research fundementally changes the view of Australia from a uniformly stable region to a continent that is experiencing active geological and tectonic processes along margins that affect sea floor stability and the safety and reliability of offshore structures.