An earthquake of magnitude 5.9 struck near Melbourne in southern Australia on Wednesday, according to Geoscience Australia.
The quake, which was one of the country’s biggest on record, caused some damage to buildings as it hit the country’s second-most populous city on Wednesday.
In a tweet on Wednesday morning, the Victorian State Emergency Service’s (VICSES News) Twitter account said the earthquake’s epicenter had been near Mansfield in the state of Victoria, about 124 miles (200km) northeast of Melbourne.
Originally the Australian government had registered the earthquake at a magnitude of 6 but subsequently downgraded it slightly to 5.9. The US Geological Survey also put the quake at magnitude 5.9.
Images and video footage showed rubble blocking one of Melbourne’s main streets and damage to some buildings in the city. The jolt also disrupted power lines in the central business district, where some people could be seen on the streets following the quake.
Melbourne residents described their shock and surprise as houses across the city began to shake, in a city which has not had an earthquake of a similar size in decades. There have been no reports of injuries so far. There were no reports of damage or injuries outside Melbourne.
“We have had no reports of serious injuries, or worse, and that is very good news and we hope that good news will continue,” said Mr Morrison.
The temblor was so strong it was felt as far away as Adelaide in South Australia, 800 kilometers (500 miles) away, and Sydney in New South Wales, more than 900 kilometers (600 miles) away.
“There is no tsunami threat” VICSES News said in a tweet. Geoscience Australia said there was an aftershock following the earthquake measuring about 4.0 in magnitude, less than half an hour after the initial shock.
Quakes are a relatively unusual occurrence in Australia’s populated east due to its position in the middle of the Indo-Australian Tectonic Plate.
“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.”
Wednesday’s tremor measured higher than the country’s deadliest tremor, a 5.6-magnitude earthquake in Newcastle in 1989, which caused 13 deaths.
The country’s worst earthquake ever was in 1988 in the Northern Territory, which measured only 6.6 magnitude, according to Geoscience Australia.
The Melbourne earthquake comes after a day of heated protests, some of the worst violent protests seen in the city in years, over strict months-long lockdowns which have been put in place to prevent the spread of the Delta Corona. [USGS, Sky News, CNN]
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