More shocks hit Qld after 5.2 earthquake

By AAP with AG Staff April 18, 2011
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North Queensland may experience more aftershocks following the 5.2 magnitude earthquake on Saturday.

NORTH QUEENSLANDERS MAY feel aftershocks from Saturday’s 5.2 magnitude earthquake for days or even weeks.

The quake, the most powerful to rock the state in more than 70 years, struck at 3.31pm on Saturday, about 180 kilometres southeast of Townsville and just 10km underground.

Thought it was felt as far away as the Whitsundays off the central coast of Queensland and in the state’s capital Brisbane, there were no reports of damage or injury.

GeoScience Australia seismologist Hugh Glanville says there have been 50 or more aftershocks since then, too small to cause damage. They will continue to be smaller than the initial one, he adds.

Townsville earthquake aftershocks

The quake was the second in a month; a 4.0 magnitude tremor was recorded 30km offshore from Innisfail south of Cairns on March 15.

Townsville mayor Les Tyrell was hopeful that there would be no damage reported with further aftershocks.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of people and many people felt it and some didn’t,” he says. “[The epicentre was] about 50km west of Bowen and it’s pretty much cattle country.”

Townsville councillor Natalie Marr said there appeared to be no damage in her area. But she told of how her windows rattled and her young daughter leapt into her arms during the quake.

“It scared my daughter enough she jumped on the couch with me and my windows were rattling,” she says. “We usually get SMS warnings if there is more danger and to stay inside and that hasn’t happened.”

She says she’d been listening to the local radio for updates and heard people as far south as Bowen saying they felt the quake.

“It’s hard to say how long it lasted, but it was probably about 10 to 20 seconds I think,” Natalie says.

Patrons at Townsville’s historic Seaview Hotel were startled as tables shook and bottles stacked side-by-side on the bar started rattling each other.

“It was obvious what was happening,” the hotel’s venue manager Aaron Tyack, says.  “There was no panic, more curiosity. It lasted five or 10 seconds and no one thought they were in any danger.”

He says while the quake had rattled the hotel, which is situated near the water’s edge, they hadn’t lost as much as a glass.

Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ experiencing more quakes

Quake-shattered Christchurch was rocked by more aftershocks on Saturday afternoon, including a strong 5.2 magnitude one at 3.49pm (AEST) that cut power to several areas but there were no immediate reports of damage.

New Zealand’s second largest city remains devastated following a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in February that claimed 181 lives. That followed a 7.1 magnitude quake last September 4.

Japan was also jolted by a 5.9 magnitude aftershock on Saturday afternoon but there were no initial reports of damage and no risk of a tsunami.