Magnitude 5.8 earthquake hits off Bowen

By AG Staff Writer 18 August 2016
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Earthquake shakes central and northern Queensland.

GEOSCIENCE AUSTRALIA HAS recorded a magnitude-5.8 earthquake just off the coast of Bowen in northern Queensland.

The quake hit at 2.30pm this afternoon and was felt by people up to 360km from the epicentre, including in the Whitsundays and Townsville, where residents are shown being evacuated from buildings in the above video. 

No tsunami alert has been issued, and there have been no reports of damage.

A senior seismologist at Geoscience Australia, Jonathan Bathgate, told the Townsville Bulletin this afternoon that aftershocks were likely and that people should shelter under something solid and drop to the floor during tremors, and avoid running outside.

This afternoon’s quake was stronger than the deadly magnitude-5.8 earthquake that hit Newcastle, NSW, in 1989 – Australia’s most destructive earthquake in history. That earthquake, which took 13 lives, was unusually destructive for its magnitude, something experts believe may have been due to soft sediment in the ground intensifying shaking.

The biggest earthquake in Australia’s history was magnitude-6.6 in Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, in 1988.