Father Joe McKey: citizen seismologist and inventor

by Col Lynam.

During my attempts at curating and revitalising the University of Queensland Seismograph Stations’ (UQSS) collection, I came across 1956 correspondence and 2 seismograms from the late Father Joe McKey from St Mary’s Church in Warwick, Queensland. One of these seismograms appears below, and shows how well the 1956 Magnitude 7.1 BIAK (Indonesia) earthquake was captured on Fr. McKey’s home built “Milne Shaw” seismograph. The other phenomena to note is the enlarged microseismic background noise at the top of the seismogram, for which his research is recognised. This was a “Tropical low moving SE from inland NSW, strong high in Tasman Sea, strong NE-E gradient. Complex lows formed near coast”.

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