Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Strikes near Melbourne, Tremors Rattle Southeast Australia
By Staff, Agencies
A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck near Melbourne on Wednesday, Geoscience Australia said, one of the country's biggest quakes on record, causing damage to buildings in the country's second-largest city and sending tremors throughout neighboring states.
The quake's epicenter 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. An aftershock was rated 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.
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.
More than half of Australia's 25 million population lives in the southeast of the country from Adelaide to Melbourne to Sydney.
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.
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.