Australia hit by biggest quake in 15 years

2012-03-24 10:59
Sydney - Australia has been hit by its biggest earthquake in 15 years, seismologists said on Saturday, rattling a remote part of the desert with local Aboriginals reporting strong shaking but no major damage.

The 6.1-magnitude earthquake had its epicentre near Ernabella, in the middle of Australia, at a shallow depth of 3 kilometres, Geoscience Australia said.

Ernabella is an indigenous arts hub home to about 500 Aboriginal people, some 317 kilometres southwest of the popular Alice Springs.

Seismologist David Jepsen said: "At an event like this, there are a number of Aboriginal communities around there and they have experienced strong shaking.

"We've heard from them, people have felt strong shaking, but we haven't heard of any damage yet, but there is that possibility."
It was Australia's biggest quake since a 6.3-magnitude one was recorded in West Australia in 1997.

Resident Ria Nicholls told ABC radio houses shook and windows rattled for about 30 seconds with elderly people on her street terrified by late Friday's quake.

"My husband and I just reassured them that it would be fine and it would pass, but they were frightened," she said.

Read more on:    australia  |  earthquakes

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