Earthquake Rattles Australia Tourist Towns

A 5.7-magnitude earthquake has rocked tourist towns along more than 1,000 kilometres of Australia’s northeastern coastline. It struck off Bowen in Queensland at around 1.30pm local time, according to the United States Geological Survey. The Townsville Bulletin reported that buildings in Townsville city were evacuated, but police said there were no reports of major damage.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology tweeted there was no tsunami warning. Geoscience Australia seismologist Jonathan Bathgate told AFP: “It’s been widely felt right up the coast, from Sunshine Coast up to north of Townsville, so quite a lot of the Queensland coast has felt some shaking.

“We haven’t had any reports of damage at this stage.

“The fact that it is 50km offshore is the reason for that, if it was closer to the coast it might have been a different story.

“We would expect to get aftershock activity after an event of this size.”

Workers at Bowen Golf Club said the two-storey timber clubhouse “shook violently” during the quake. Employee Margaret Need told AAP: “It was only for a few seconds and we were more concerned about the ocean.

“If the ocean started sucking out we would have started running because we are right on the beachfront.

“We just watched that for a bit to see if there was any change in the water.

It was very scary.”

She said it’s the second earthquake she has experienced during her time working at the golf club and it was also the most violent.

“We had one about four or five years ago and it was only light, but this shook really badly.”

The tremor followed a 4.6-magnitude quake that struck 126 kilometres off Bundaberg in Queensland, early on Sunday.

According to Geoscience Australia, the strongest recorded quake in Australia was a 6.6-magnitude earthquake that hit the small mining town of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, in January 1988.

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