A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck near Melbourne on Wednesday. According to Geoscience Australia, it’s one of the country’s biggest quakes so far on record. The quake has caused damage to buildings and properties in the country’s second largest city and sending tremors throughout neighboring states.
In a tweet on Wednesday morning, the Victorian State Emergency Service’s (VICSES News) Twitter account said the earthquake’s epicenter had been near Mansfield in the state of Victoria.
“Please be patient as lines may be busy,” the tweet said.
Meanwhile, some images and video footages of the magnitude 6.0 earthquake circulating on social media showed rubble blocking one of Melbourne’s major streets. People in northern parts of the city said on social media they had lost power. Others said they had been evacuated from buildings.
According to Melbourne residents, who described their shock and surprise as houses across the city began to shake. This is because the city has not had an earthquake of a similar size in decades. However, there have been no reports of injuries so far.
“We have had no reports of serious injuries, or worse, and that is very good news and we hope that good news will continue,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison who is in Washington told reporters.
“It can be a very disturbing event, an earthquake of this nature. They are very rare events in Australia and as a result, I am sure people would have been quite distressed and disturbed.”
The temblor was so strong and the quake was felt as far away as Adelaide in South Australia, 800 kilometers (500 miles) away. This magnitude 6.0 earthquake was also felt in Sydney in New South Wales, more than 900 kilometers away. “There is no tsunami threat” VICSES News said in a tweet. Geoscience Australia said there was an aftershock following the earthquake measuring about 4.0 in magnitude, less than half an hour after the initial shock.
The epicenter was near the town of Mansfield, which is about 80 miles northeast of Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city and capital of the state of Victoria.
Geoscience Australia said the magnitude 6.0 earthquake was followed by a series of aftershocks, and that more should be expected in the coming weeks.
The magnitude 6.0 earthquake occurred at a time of protests expected in Melbourne on Wednesday, for a potential disruption for anti-lockdown, which was put in place to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant. The protest, which would be the third day of unrest that has reached increasing levels of violence and police response.
Demonstrators block off major roads in the city and lit flares amid clashes with police, in some of the worst violent protests seen in the city in years.
Australia’s current coronavirus outbreak, driven by the more contagious delta variant, has called for a lockdown in Melbourne, Sydney and the Australian capital, Canberra. Though restrictions in Melbourne and Sydney are expected to be eased next month after vaccination goals in many states.
The country has reported about 90,000 total cases and fewer than 1,200 deaths so far.