South-east Australia has been rocked by an earthquake, with reports of tremors felt from Melbourne to Sydney.
According to Geoscience Australia, the 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck in the Alpine National Park south-east of Mansfield, 190 kilometers north-east of Melbourne, at 9:15 a.m. today. The earthquake was initially recorded at a magnitude of 6.0 but was later downgraded to a magnitude of 5.0, with tremors lasting roughly 30 seconds.
Eighteen minutes after the first tremor, a 4.0 aftershock was recorded. Another 3.1 magnitude quake hit at 10.15 am.
According to Deputy Premier James Merlino, the state is on high alert as there is a chance of more earthquakes and aftershocks, which might last weeks or months. He said:
“Buildings have been damaged in the Mansfield township, no reports of injury at this stage.”
Mr Merlino said 46 minor building damage complaints had been received across the state, including in the Melbourne suburbs of Kensington, Parkdale, Ascot Vale, Balwyn, Prahran, Northcote, West Melbourne, and Elsternwick.
Beechworth hospital had lost power in the morning, but they have been able to switch to backup generators. Most of the power outages in the state has also been resolved.
Incident control centres have been established in Manfield, Dandenong, and Benalla. Public transportation has been impacted, particularly on the Traralgon and Seymour rail lines.
Though Mr Merlino did not feel the quake, his wife and children did feel the tremors. He said:
“It was right across Melbourne and many parts of regional Victoria, this was quite a significant event and quite scary for a lot of people.”
“Please take care, keep observing the EMV alerts and warnings that have been issued and there will be more to say later in the day.”
Speaking earlier from the United States, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the earthquake was “extremely disconcerting” and distressing and that the federal government was ready to assist Victorians as needed.
Morrison speaks on Vic Earthquake from the Gates of Hell…😬 pic.twitter.com/fenVS7ZCuy
— Emergency&BushfireKits (@EmergencyBK) September 22, 2021
Mr Morrison said Emergency Management Australia was in contact with state authorities. He has asked Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to inform him of developments. He said:
“Regardless of whether it’s a flood, bushfire, earthquake or cyclone, we have some of the best disaster response agencies anywhere in the world, if not the best.”
Federal MP Michael McCormack reported feeling the quake in the New South Wales town of Temora, 370km north of the epicentre in Mansfield and 85km north of Wagga Wagga.
— Michael McCormack (@M_McCormackMP) September 21, 2021
Keep an eye on the Emergency Victoria website for the latest information.