Rare quake rocks Australia's Barrier Reef coast

April 17, 2011
A photo released by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in 2009 shows a section of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The Barrier Reef district has been rocked by an unusual 5.2-magnitude earthquake, but laid-back locals said they had barely felt a thing.

Australia's Barrier Reef district was rocked by an unusual 5.2-magnitude earthquake Saturday, but laid-back locals said they had barely felt a thing.

The tremor struck about 3.30pm local time (0530 GMT) about 124 kilometres southeast of Townsville at a depth of 10 kilometres, according to the United States Geological Survey.

A low rumbling was felt at Magnetic Island, a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland and part of the , according to a hotelier at the All Seasons resort, where it briefly interrupted a wedding on the beach.

"Some of the guests felt a bit of a shake, nothing much. It wasn't major, no-one fell over and nothing was damaged," she said.

"It was just like a shudder, my office backs onto the laundry and I said 'Oh, that was a big spin cycle.' It hasn't stopped the world up here.

"We are alive and well at the moment and please God that's how we are going to stay."

There were no immediate reports of damage and no tsunami alert was issued.

In Townsville, a tropical city renowned for its easygoing lifestyle, residents said they hadn't felt a thing.

"Look, we're pretty laid-back around here and it'd take something more than that to shake us up," a publican at the local Molly Malone's Irish Bar told AFP.

Geoscience Australia David Jepsen said the epicentre was about 60 kilometres west of Bowen town, which was in the path of top-intensity Cyclone Yasi earlier this year.

"Fortunately this is a sparsely populated part of Queensland. We couldn't see much in the way of towns (in the quake zone), so that's a good thing," said Jepsen.

Australia rarely experiences significant earthquakes, its land mass being some distance from the boundary of the Indo-Australian tectonic plate.

Jepsen said that quakes of a magnitude 5.5 happened statistically once a year on average but Australia had experienced a "lull" in recent years.

Explore further: New quake rattles New Zealand's Christchurch

Related Stories

New quake rattles New Zealand's Christchurch

October 4, 2010

A moderate earthquake measuring 5.2 struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Monday, exactly a month after the country's worst quake in nearly eight decades, US scientists said.

Taiwan hit by 6.4-magnitude quake: USGS

December 20, 2009

A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit off eastern Taiwan on Saturday evening, the US Geological Survey said, the biggest tremor to rock the island this year.

7.7-magnitude quake hits off Indonesian island

October 25, 2010

(AP) -- A powerful earthquake hit off western Indonesia late Monday, briefly triggering a tsunami warning that sent thousands of panicked residents fleeing to high ground. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Major Pacific earthquake prompts tsunami warning

March 20, 2009

A major 7.9-magnitude earthquake has shaken the South Pacific nation of Tonga and sending people in low lying areas of Fiji fleeing for higher ground after a tsunami warning, according to officials.

Ill. earthquake a wake-up call

April 20, 2008

A U.S. seismologist said the earthquake that jolted the Midwest Friday is a reminder of the risks seismic events pose outside familiar quake areas.

Recommended for you

Weather anomalies accelerate the melting of sea ice

January 16, 2018

In the winter of 2015/16, something happened that had never before been seen on this scale: at the end of December, temperatures rose above zero degrees Celsius for several days in parts of the Arctic. Temperatures of up ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Apr 17, 2011
Oh scoff if you want you crazi Auzzies, but mark my words this is the first sign that Zealandia the drowned continent is starting to re-emerge from the ocean depths. Start panicking now!
1 / 5 (2) Apr 17, 2011
At least americans aren't the only ones that are embarrassingly nationalistic.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.