4.0 earthquake hits north Queensland coast

By AAP with AG Staff 16 March 2011
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A small earthquake has struck off the coast of far north Queensland.

A MAGNITUDE 4.0 EARTHQUAKE has struck the coast of far north Queensland. Residents felt tremors from a small offshore earthquake, centred about 70 km southeast of Cairns.

Residents to the north and south of Cairns have reported feeling tremors from the earthquake, which occurred shortly after 4pm off the coast of Innisfail, south Tully and Mission Beach, which were pummelled by Cyclone Yasi on February 3.

No damage in Cairns earthquake

There have been no reports of damage and there was no tsunami threat from the quake because it was much less than the magnitude 7 required to generate destructive tsunami waves.

“It is quite shallow and with only a magnitude 4, it’s not any threat for a tsunami,” forecaster Liz Heba told ABC Radio. “I know people are concerned about that at the moment but certainly no threat at all – really just the effect has been people feeling it,” she said.


Cairns resident Kathy Brown said the sensation experienced by those in her office at Smithfield, north of the city, was similar to that caused by a passing heavy vehicle. “I was just sitting here and I felt it it through the floor and then my computer started to shake,” she said.

She said she was shocked to discover the shaking was the result of an earthquake. “A couple of people who’d been through one before said `that was an earthquake’, but I said `we don’t get earthquakes in Cairns’. I wish it had been a passing truck; we’re used to cyclones but we don’t need any earthquakes.”

Twiter used to report earthquake

Twitter users have reported experiencing tremors at Edmonton and Gordonvale south of the cit and the Cairns Post reported fish were seen jumping out of the water when the earthquake hit.

Russell Heads resident Keith Fisher told the paper the quake lasted for about four seconds. “It sounded like distant thunder. There was a distant rumbling,” he said. “I haven’t heard anything like it before. It was very slight.”

However, Innisfail Mayor Bill Shannon said no tremors were reported in the town.

“It’s a bit strange, if it was only 30 km off the coast you’d have expected to feel something in Innisfail but no one felt anything.”