One of Australia’s biggest quakes struck Melbourne, recording a magnitude 6.0 earthquake on Wednesday, on record that caused damage to building in Melbourne and sent tremors throughout neighboring states.
The epicenter was near Mansfield, a rural town in the state of Victoria. The town is about 200 km northeast of Melbourne. The epicenter was at a depth of 10 km. An aftershock of intensity 4.0 was recorded.
Images and videos on social media showed rubble blocking one of Melbourne’s main streets. People in the northern parts of the city said that they were without power.
The earthquake was felt as far as Adelaide and Sydney. However, there were no immediate reports of damage and injuries outside Melbourne.
More than half of Australia’s 25 million population lives in the southeast of the country from Adelaide to Melbourne to Sydney.
“We have had no reports of serious injuries, or worse, and that is very good news and we hope that good news will continue,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Washington.
“It can be a very disturbing event, an earthquake of this nature. They are very rare events in Australia and as a result, I am sure people would have been quite distressed and disturbed.”
Quakes are relatively unusual in Australia’s populated east due to its position in the middle of the Indo-Australian Tectonic Plate, according to Geoscience Australia. The quake on Wednesday measured higher than the country’s deadliest tremor, a 5.6 in Newcastle in 1989, which resulted in 13 deaths.
The mayor of Mansfield, Mark Holcombe, said he was in his home office on his farm when the quake struck and ran outside for safety.
“I have been in earthquakes overseas before and it seemed to go on longer than I have experienced before,” Holcombe told the ABC. “The other thing that surprised me was how noisy it was. It was a real rumbling like a big truck going past.”
He knew of no serious damage near the quake epicentre, although some residents reported problems with telecommunications.
No tsunami threat was issued to the Australian mainland, islands or territories, the country’s Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement.
The quake presented a potential disruption for anti-lockdown protests expected in Melbourne on Wednesday, which would be the third day of unrest that has reached increasing levels of violence and police response.