Earthquake Strikes Near Melbourne, tremors rattle southeast Australia

Sept 22, 2021: A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck near Melbourne on Wednesday, according to Geoscience Australia, making it one of the country’s biggest quakes on record.

The earthquake caused damage to buildings in the country’s second largest city and sending tremors throughout neighbouring states.

The quake was felt as far away as the city of Adelaide, 800 km to the west in the state of South Australia, and Sydney, 900 km to the north in New South Wales state, although there were no reports of damage outside Melbourne and no reports of injuries.

The earthquake’s epicentre was near the rural town of Mansfield in the state of Victoria, about 200 km northeast of Melbourne, and was at a depth of 10 km. One of the aftershocks felt was recorded at rating 4.0.

Images and video footage circulating on social media showed rubble blocking one of Melbourne’s main streets, while people in northern parts of the city said on social media they had lost power and others said they were evacuated from buildings.

In the words of Australian PM, Scott Morrison, “We have had no reports of serious injuries, or worse, and that is very good news and we hope that good news will continue.”

Meanwhile 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. He said it felt longer than any earthquake he has experienced before and was also more noisy.

Just as Scott Morrison, Holcombe also said he knew of no serious damage near the earthquake epicentre, although some residents reported problems with telecommunications.

According to Geoscince Australia, earthquakes are relatively unusual in Australia’s populated east due to its position in the middle of the Indo-Australian Tectonic Plate. The quake on Wednesday measured higher than the country’s deadliest tremor, a 5.6 in Newcastle in 1989, which resulted in 13 deaths.

No tsunami threat was issued to the Australian mainland, islands or territories, the country’s Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement. More than half of Australia’s 25 million population lives in the southeast of the country from Adelaide to Melbourne to Sydney.

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