Melbourne hit by tremor
Mex Cooper, March 18, 2009 – 6:26PM
Melbourne shook for a short spell this afternoon after an earthquake measuring 4.6 hit the city.
A spokesman for Geoscience Australia said the earthquake was recorded at 4.28pm and there were no immediate reports of damage.
In a replica of the earth tremor on March 6, the epicentre of today’s quake was at Korumburra, about 90 kilometres southeast of Melbourne. The first earth tremor also measured 4.6 magnitude.
People have reported feeling today’s quake in the CBD, Box Hill, Footscray, Heathmont, Warrandyte, Glen Waverley, Emerald, Port Melbourne, St Kilda, Warragul and Phillip Island.
A State Emergency Services spokesman said there had so far been no reports of damage.
The earlier March quake was the largest recorded in Melbourne since 1973.
Geoscience Australia said at the time that quakes of an equivalent size or larger were felt in Australian on average every two years.
Duty seismologist Dr Phil Cummins said the first quake was caused by the movement of tectonic plate after a build up of stress in the Earth’s crust.
Rachel Waycott was working in the Austral Hotel in Korumburra when the town again shook.
She said about 15 patrons in the pub looked at each other and expected the worst as the two-storey building began to move.
“It was as bad as the last one. I was sitting in the bar and serving and the whole pub shook. I was ready to run out as you hear things about whether the next one could be a big one,” she said.
Ms Waycott said the earthquake on March 6 had been the talk of Korumburra and locals feared it was leading to a second larger quake.
“I have felt aftershocks over the last couple of weeks … some people haven’t felt them but one was in the middle of the night and was strong enough to shake my whole house and wake me up.”
Ms Waycott said this afternoon’s quake lasted up to 10 seconds and was followed by a 10-minute blackout in the town.
“It was like a rumble as if a truck or something had hit the pub and you could see the building shaking,” she said.
Grahame Brown, owner manager of the Korumburra Tourist Park, was in the shower when the quake rolled through his property on the outskirts of town.
“It felt like an explosion in the quarry, the whole house shook back and forwards a few times,” Mr Brown said.
“You could feel the whole house moving and then the power went off for five to ten minutes, but we’ve had four or five of these since January, so I suppose we’re getting used to it by now.”
He said there was no damage other than photographs on the walls moving to a tilt.
Teacher Ross Besley had been at a meeting at the local primary school in the town’s centre.
“The whole room started to shake, and it gave us a shake, the whole street was talking about it,” he said.
Dr Craig Gedye was at the Austin Hospital in Heidelberg when he felt the room shaking.
“I felt five seconds of light shaking and then one long thump about 4.30pm,” he said.
He said he heard wood creaking but did not believe the tremor was strong enough to have caused damage.
“It’s just another little tremor like we felt the other week,” he said.
Narre Warren resident Ginnie Giles said her entire house shook about 4.30pm.
“It was the same as the other night when it happened,” she said.
“It was for maybe three or four seconds but it felt longer than that. Our cat was lying down and he looked around as if to say ‘what was that?’.”
Charles Envall, of Korumburra, was having a relaxing afternoon reading when the tremor hit and the power went off temporarily.
“A loud, rumbling noise went for about two or three seconds, it didn’t seem to be as much vibration as the last one which shook the armchairs around a bit,” Mr Envall said.
Geoscience Australia’s website crashed after reports of the quake began to flood in but is now up and running again.
Anderson’s Creek Primary School teacher Leah Canale was in a portable classroom in Warrandyte when the tremor struck.
“I was sitting in my classroom and all of a sudden the filing cabinet and desk started shaking, windows started shaking,” she said.
“I thought ‘Am I going crazy or is that another earthquake?”’
Ms Canale said she was thankful her grade 5 students had already left for the day as they would have “gone crazy”.
“I live in Kew and during the last one I was sitting on the couch and fell off. This time I was standing upright but it felt about equally as strong,” she said.
The Seismology Research Centre said an aftershock sequence is expected to continue.
There have been no reports of damage and it is unlikely an earthquake of this magnitude and depth will cause any significant damage, the centre’s website said.
State Emergency Service spokesman Alan Briggs said while there had been no reports of any damage, anyone facing any problems should turn off all gas, electricity and water and call emergency services.
– with Larissa Ham and AAP