By DAMIEN NOVAK
This morning’s earthquake in Victoria – a tremor measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale near the town of Mansfield, 180 kilometres north-east of Melbourne – has been felt by some in Sydney and as far north as the NSW Central Coast.
The earthquake, which occurred at 9.33am, has caused extensive damage in Victoria, including in parts of metropolitan Melbourne.
Pictures coming in on social media have depicted fallen bricks and shop awnings in Melbourne’s famous shopping strip, Chapel Street.
Damage is expected to be more severe in close to the epicentre of the quake, which occurred at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres, according to Geoscience Australia.
A short time ago, City of Sydney Councillor Linda Scott took to social media to address the earthquake, which was also felt in numerous parts of Sydney.
“Reports of earthquake tremors across our @cityofsydney today – from Zetland to Glebe and our CBD. Stay safe! #SydneyEarthquake,” Ms Scott wrote on Twitter.
Ms Scott retweeted a Twitter post by University of Sydney lecturer and Zetland resident Matthew Thomas, who reported that the shaking caused his family to flee their building.
“Just felt a tremor in Zetland. The room started shaking so we grabbed the baby and ran out of the building. So scary! #Sydneytremor,” wrote Mr Thomas.
London-born Sydney resident William Broughman said the tremor was the first he had experienced in his lifetime, writing on Twitter: “That was another first. Just experienced my first earthquake tremors here in Sydney. Building was swaying and at first I thought it was my vertigo but the symptoms were different. Many of my neighbours felt the same thing. Hope everyone is safe x #earthquake #sydneyearthquake.”
Dr Ben Mather, a geophysicist at the University of Sydney, said he could feel the earthquake in his home.
“For it to be felt as far as Sydney is quite amazing,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“The actual earthquake itself occurred along this fault line, called the Governor Fault. It separates the Melbourne zone and the Alpine region in Victoria. It’s quite a deep fault, one of the largest faults we have in Victoria,” he said.
Dr Mather told the publication aftershocks were likely. An aftershock registering 4.0 has already been recorded, according to Geoscience Australia.
At time of writing, no fatalities or serious injuries had been reported from the earthquake, which is large by Australian standards.
The largest onshore earthquake ever recorded in Australia was the magnitude 6.8 quake which struck Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory on 22 January, 1988. The quake was felt across one-quarter of the Australian continent and was followed by two significant aftershocks on the same day, registering 6.4 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, respectively.
The most damaging Australian earthquake – and the only one known to have killed people – was the 28 December, 1989 Newcastle earthquake, which caused 13 deaths in the NSW port city.
The quake injured hundreds of people (with 160 hospitalised), damaged 50,000 buildings, made 1,000 people homeless and caused an estimated $4 billion dollars in damage at the time.
The Newcastle quake was widely felt across the Sydney metropolitan area and up to 800 kilometres from the epicentre.
In Sydney’s city centre, 160 kilometres to the south, visitors to the observation deck of Sydney Tower were terrified when the building swayed for a short time.
Speaking about this morning’s earthquake, Victorian Deputy Premier James Merlino warned that aftershocks could continue for weeks or months.