Moderate shallow earthquake and aftershocks near Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Last update: April 17, 2011 at 7:21 am by By

Townsville Australia - image courtesy wtanet.org

UPDATE 17/04 06:43 : We are happy to report that there has been no damage from this M5.2 earthquake. The quake has been the state’s largest since 1935, was recorded 60 kilometres west of Bowen with aftershocks continuing last night.
To see the seismograms from this event – http://www.quakes.uq.edu.au/
In addition, Geoscience Australia, has a very good system showing some details of the quake – Geoscience Australia – M5.2 Bowen Quake

Although this earthquake has been non-damaging, there are many Australian earthquakes that have been damaging (CATDAT AUS Orange or above) (over 90 since the start of recording). These can be seen in the diagram below.

CATDAT Historic Damaging Australian Earthquakes 1801-2010

UPDATE 09:29 : A townsville citizen comments :  Well that was the first earthquake i’ve ever felt. Very scary, mostly because i was home alone and had no idea what it was till later.

UPDATE 09:10 : One of the best local reports with a lot of frightened testimony reports from locals can be read in The Townsville bulletin.

UPDATE 09:07 : Te earthquake was felt as far as Brisbane and also in Whitsundays, off the central coast of Queensland.

UPDATE 08:56 : An aftershock with a 4.7 magnitude at a depth of 16 km has occurred 1 hour 35 minutes after the mainshock.

UPDATE 08:49 : So far there are no reports of damage or injuries, although many coastal towns and villages did report strong shaking of structures and furniture.

UPDATE : This earthquake is definitely one of the largest to occur in Queensland since many years.

UPDATE : Geoscience Australia rates this earthquake at a magnitude of 5.4

Moderate unusual and shallow earthquake below Australia close to the Great Barrier Reef.
We called this earthquake moderately dangerous as the hypocenter (focal point) was very shallow (close to the surface). Shallow moderate earthquakes can lead to minor damage like cracks in walls etc.
The historic seismicity map from USGS (see below), gives a number of moderate earthquakes in a mountain range to the south-west of Townville and to the north in the sea.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 5.2
UTC Time : Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 05:31:19 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 03:31:19 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 10 km
Geo-location(s) :
124 km (77 miles) SE of Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map of the area showing the kind of terrain the earthquake took place
3-dimensional view of the earthquake area (USGS epicenter location)
USGS historic earthquakes map
USGS Seismic hazard map

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