6.5 magnitude earthquake hits West Australia

6.5 magnitude earthquake hits West Australia

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake has hit off the West Australian coast, shaking items off shelves and stunning local residents who have never experienced earth tremors before.

The undersea earthquake occurred at 3.39pm AEST on Sunday off the shore between Port Hedland and Broome, in the Indian Ocean, GeoScience Australia reported.

The United States Geological Survey agency said the quake hit at a depth of 33km, about 203km offshore. It reported the magnitude at 6.9.

There is no threat of a tsunami to the Australian mainland, islands or territories, the weather bureau says.

Derby resident Jody Gaunt was having a beer with friends when they felt the quake. “We were sitting outside and our chairs were rocking,” she said.

“The trees stopped moving and the breeze stopped blowing. We were thinking, ‘Is this real or not real?’ We’ve never had an earthquake up here, or a tremor.”

Gaunt said the quake was the talk of the neighbourhood and it was reported that stock had been shaken off the shelves at the local Woolworths.

Over in Port Hedland, The Walkabout Hotel employee Shelley said it felt like being on a vibrating machine. “It felt like being on one of those vibrating machines. It just sort of shook the building,” she said, adding a colleague thought it was a jet from the neighbouring international airport taking off.

The Roey Hotel employee Cindy said she saw cars moving in the earthquake.

“I was outside and I just saw the cars moving. It was a bit scary. You could see them moving. A few things fell off the walls onto the floors,” she said.

“It just went for a few seconds.”

Gary, who works at the Mercure Hotel in Broome, said it started as a little shake before the doors and walls rattled. “It started off with a shake, it was not too crazy and then it developed into quite a shake,” he said, after experiencing his first earthquake.

“It was quite nerve-racking. We made our way outside. It was not too strong, it almost felt like when you are in a car and the wind is a bit strong, and then it started picking up.”

Locals took to social media to report they had felt the earth move.

Deb Hannagan, from Broome, tweeted: “We just had an earthquake in Broome! The whole house was shaking and it went for ages. Never experienced anything like it before – quite amazing!”

There have been no reported injuries from the earthquake, a St John Ambulance spokeswoman said. It is also understood there has been no building damage, according to a police spokesman.


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