Now Reading
Australia Isn’t As “Down Under” As We Once Thought

Australia Isn’t As “Down Under” As We Once Thought

Australia is moving, you guys. Time to pack up all your belonging and drive them 1.5 metres north. Wait, what?

You may not know this but Australia sits atop one of earth’s fastest-moving tectonic plates. Tectonic plates sit in the earth’s lithosphere, and when the boundaries of the plates move together they create earthquakes. And it’s because of these movers and shakers that Australia’s land mass has shifted about seven centimetres north each year for the past few decades. Subsequently, researchers have found that the entire continent has moved 1.5 metres since 1994, when the data was last recorded.

Nature’s awesome, huh?

Lake Hillier near Esperance
Photo: Okert le Roux/Tourism Western Australia

While 1.5 metres might not seem like much, it makes a huge difference when we’re talking about technologies like self-driving cars. Self-driving cars require location data to be pinpoint accurate considering these cars rely on GPS tracking to get them from A to B. If they’re off by even a few feet, that could mean a whole lot of cars in the wrong lane or merging into oncoming traffic.

See Also
The Hill I Will Die On: People Really Need To Step Back From The Baggage Carousel

To fix the discrepancy, scientists from Geoscience Australia will spend 2017 recalculating the country’s latitude and longitude coordinates. Here’s hoping that means Uber will finally be able to pop my location pin in the correct spot, and not down the street from where I’m standing.

Scroll To Top