The city of Melbourne was shaken this Sunday by an unusual, shallow earthquake – the most powerful to affect this Australian metropolis in over a hundred years – which caused buildings to sway but resulted in minimal destruction.
Early data suggested that the quake, which measured 3.8 in magnitude, originated in the northwestern suburb of Sunbury at 11:41 pm local time, and was a mere 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) deep, as reported by Geoscience Australia, a government institution.
Adam Pascale, the leading scientist at the Victoria’s Seismology Research Centre, stated that this earthquake was the strongest within a 40-kilometer radius of Melbourne since a 4.5 magnitude quake in 1902.
“It woke me up! Probably 5-10 seconds of minor shaking. The adrenaline hasn’t dissipated yet…” shared Pascale on Twitter.
Geoscience Australia reported receiving in excess of 21,000 earthquake notifications, with the shockwaves being experienced as far as the city of Bendigo, approximately 150 kilometers north of Melbourne, and as far south as Hobart on the island of Tasmania.
As of April, Melbourne has surpassed Sydney to become Australia’s city with the highest population, and on the following Monday, many of its 5.8 million inhabitants had a story to share.
“Felt like a plane crashed next to my house or something,” a local inhabitant said, as cited by CNN partner 7News.
“I’m on the 70th floor in the Eureka Tower and the entire building swayed a couple of metres,” another Melbourne resident posted on Twitter, in reference to a central city high-rise, as reported by CNN associate Sky News Australia.
An individual recounted how they “ran out of the house with a machete” while in their nightwear.
“Our old house sounded like it was getting broken into,” they further added, as per Sky News Australia.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reassured the public on Twitter that the quake posed no tsunami risk, although the emergency services issued a warning of potential aftershocks through a Facebook statement.
The majority of earthquakes occur in the Pacific Ring of Fire, the location of the globe’s most active volcanoes, and where seismic activities take place due to tectonic plates colliding.
Although earthquakes are less frequent in Australia, the continent does undergo seismic shifts due to movements of tectonic plates.
Back in 2021, Victoria felt a magnitude 5.9 earthquake that resulted in minor structural damage in Melbourne, even though it occurred nearly 200 kilometers away.