Australia earthquake – 6.6-magnitude quake hits as people flee fearing buildings will collapse

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Western Australia been hit by its strongest earthquake in more than 30 years after a 6.6 magnitude tremor close to a popular beach resort.

It struck west of the popular beach resort of Broome at 1.39pm on Sunday local time.

EPA

The quake struck 126 miles off the coast of northwestern Australia[/caption]

It caused panic as people ran outside fearing that buildings could collapse, with tremors having been reported as far away as Indonesia.

The quake struck undersea in the Indian Ocean, 126 miles off Australia’s northwestern coast, between Broome and the city of Port Hedland.

There were no immediate reports of damages or casualties, and the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no risk of a tsunami to the Australian mainland, islands, or territories.

Pictures from the area show stock shaken from the shelves of supermarkets.

One local witness reported on EMSC: “Whole house shook and power is out. No major damage or injury as far as I am aware.”

Another wrote: “On Cable Beach. Car rocked and ground shook. Pretty strong.”

People from Port Headland, Karratha, Busselton, and Perth also posted to social media about having felt tremors.

Resident Matt Young wrote on Twitter: “Just witnessed an Earthquake in Broome…whole grandstand was shaking and people darting away and onto the track.”

The last quake of the same magnitude in Australia hit Tennant Creek in 1988, causing $2 million worth of damage, although no one was injured.

Jody Gaunt, a resident of Derby 200km along the coast from Broome, told the Guardian: “We were sitting outside and our chairs were rocking.

“The trees stopped moving and the breeze stopped blowing.

“We were thinking, ‘Is this real or not real?’

“We’ve never had an earthquake up here, or a tremor.”

Geoscience Australia seismologist Phil Cummins told ABCNews that this was not a common event.

“It’s quite rare… You might see this event every 20 years,” he said.

“It’s always difficult to say whether it could be a preview to something bigger.

“You certainly can expect aftershocks, so there will definitely be earthquakes that are smaller than this one occurring with less and less frequency as time goes by, less and less intensity.

“People should be aware that there’s always a possibility this could trigger another one nearby.”

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