April 16, 2011

Latest News: Major earthquake rattles North Queensland 124km south of Townsville between Ayr and Bowen

UPDATE 5.10pm: A 5.2 magnitude earthquake shook buildings as it rocked North Queensland this afternoon, with its effects being reported from Ingham to Mackay.

A preliminary US Geological survey report says the 5.2 magnitude quake struck 124km south-east of Townsville, between Ayr and Bowen, about 3.30pm today.

The quake struck at a depth of 10km with USGS recieving reports of the tremor in Townsville, Bowen and as far away as Mackay.

Geoscience Australia reports the quake had a magnitude of 5.4.

The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed there is no tsunami warning following the quake.

The quake was felt as far away as the Whitsundays off the central coast of Queensland and in the state's capital Brisbane, a Geoscience Australia spokesman told AAP.

``It's a shallow earthquake, that means it's close to the surface and potentially damaging,'' he said.

``For this type of event we would definitely expect aftershocks ... and generally they are smaller than the original event.''

Grant Walters said his high-set home, opposite the Willows Golf Clubhouse in Kirwan, shook for up to a minute.

"The whole house started shaking. I thought someting had run into the house that's how bad it was shaking," he said.

"It would have lasted probably 30 seconds to a minute.

"It was a bit scary. It was somthing we've never felt before."

Whitsunday Mayor Mike Brunker said the quake reminded him of how the earth moved during mine blasts in his days at Collinsville.

He said it gave the seaside town of Bowen a "bit of a rattle and a roll" but there were no reports of damage.

"We heard there could have been a power outage in Guthalungra but i can't confirm that," he said.

As with Bowen, there have been no reports of damage across the affected area.

A 5.3 magnitude aftershock hit quake-devastated Christchurch just minutes after the North Queensland quake.

The Christchurch quake struck at 3.49pm (AEST), centred 10km northeast of Diamond Harbour at a depth of 11km.

It was felt strongly in Christchurch and also in Timaru.

Christchurch remains devastated following a magnitude 6.3 quake on February 22, which claimed an estimated 181 lives.

That quake followed a magnitude 7.1 quake last September 4.