Strongly felt and possibly dangerous M5.6-6.1 earthquake in Australia's aboriginal inland

Earthquake overview : A M6.12 earthquake has struck on the border of NT and SA in Australia. We expect some minor damage in the aboriginal communities and in some local homesteads.
"I have Felt it" Reports --> see below + Let us know "how you have felt this earthquake"
To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).

Keep this page open or return regularly as we will be back with more details when they become available

Red circle area can be damaging - image courtesy Geoscience Australia

Update - Ernabella has around 600 residents according to local Ernabella Anangu School deputy principal Tony Nicholls. People rushed out into the streets but there are no reports of damage still.

"I heard rumbling and then the wall started shaking which lasted about 15 seconds,'' Mr Nicholls said. (quote from Adelaide Now)

In addition, this shows the seismic stations in Adelaide (courtesy PIRSA).

It can be seen that the view that is usually used for earthquakes has been saturated at around 9.27am. (Adelaide is around 1200km from the epicenter).

 - The earthquake's epicentre was recorded at a shallow depth near

Ernabella, 415km north west of Coober Pedy and about 320km south west of Alice Springs, just before 8pm. It is about 130km SE of Uluru.
- A magnitude of Ml6.12 has been given by Geoscience Australia. Given the remoteness it is difficult to constrain the magnitude.
-It has been given a M5.6 by other agencies.

Ernabella has an airstrip, and a few houses as far as can be seen. Many people live in the immediate area however. For the area of Ernabella from census data:-  Total Persons : 332, Median Age of Persons 26,  Labour Force: 124, Employed Fulltime: 53, Main Occupation: Labourers, Main Industry of Employment: School Education (Area School), Median Family Income ($/Weekly): 485, Total Private Dwellings: 97 , Average Household Size: 4.1, Average Number of Persons Per Bedroom: 1.7.

A seismogram from a station about 600km away is shown here in WA. It took about 90 seconds for the waves to reach this station. Courtesy of GA.

Warakurna, WA Seismogram - Geoscience Australia

Geoscience Australia reported the quake could have been felt by people up to 500km away and damage experienced within a 40km radius of the epicentre.

"There are a number of Aboriginal communities near the epicentre and they would have felt the earthquake strongly," he said.
"It is possible there could be some minor damage up there."
An SA Police spokesman said there had been no reports of damage or injuries as yet, but being nightfall probably more information will be found tomorrow.

For more information on historic Australian earthquakes - all damaging earthquakes etc.:-



The largest Australian Earthquakes from my coffee cup from the Australian Earthquake Engineering Society:-

7.2 Offshore WA 1906
6.9 Meeberrie WA 1941
6.8 Meckering WA 1968
6.7 Tennant Creek NT 1988
6.6 NE Tasmania TAS 1892
6.6 Broome WA 1929
6.5 Geraldton WA 1885
6.5 NE Tasmania TAS 1885
6.5 Beachport SA 1897
6.5 Simpson Desert NT 1941

- As far as some important online Australian press we could conclude that there was NO earthquake in Australia (written at 10:38 UTC), as no articles had been written at this point.

- Australian scientists have calculated that the earthquake will probably have been felt in a radius of 507 km around the epicenter. Damage might be inflicted in a radius of 40 km from the epicenter.

- Australia's Geoscience is the organization with multiple instruments installed all over Australia and has to be considered as most accurate.

- GEOSCIENCE Australia has recalculated the earthquake data and is now reporting a M 6.1 ! magnitude at a depth of ONLY 3 km. This earthquake has to be called VERY DANGEROUS for the people living in the immediate vicinity of the epicenter.

- USGS has calculated that approx. 1,000 people will have experienced a strong shaking (MMI VI) and another 1,000 a moderate MMI V shaking. 3,000 people a light shaking.

Australia's inland in the greater epicenter area - image courtesy SoTho

- We have detected that a small village is located at max.  10 km of the epicenter (trusting that the epicenter location is correct, which is not always the case)

- We do not expect "experience reports" from this very remote area in Australia's inland (we were wrong as we received a report from the greater epicenter within a short time after the earthquake - Thank you for informing the world)

- The earthquake occurred in the Australian desert

- All world agencies are reporting almost similar magnitudes (in between  5.4 and 5.7).

- The earthquake occurred during the Australian evening hours in a very sparsely populated area

- Geoscience Australia is reporting a Magnitude of 5.7, depth not yet calculated GOOGLE+ / FACEBOOK
"I Have Felt It" reports as received by
See below for all the received Earthquake Experience reports as received by

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 5.6 (USGS) - Ml 6.1 (Geoscience Australia)
UTC Time :   Friday, March 23, 2012 at 09:25:16 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Friday, March 23, 2012 at 07:55:16 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 10.7 km (6.6 miles)
Geo-location(s) :
Very close to Ngarutjara (risk area)
317 km (197 miles) SSW (213°) from Alice Springs, Australia

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area
Historic earthquakes map
Seismic hazard map
Shaking map
Focal mechanism report
Human impact map
I Have Felt this earthquake

Refresh this list
SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
EMSC Western Australia Apr 04 18:00 3.2 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC South Australia Apr 04 08:59 3.2 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Northwest Of Australia Mar 31 22:12 3.4 1 MAP
EMSC New South Wales, Australia Mar 25 01:35 3.1 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Western Australia Mar 24 16:35 3.2 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Northwest Of Australia Mar 11 15:46 3.0 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Western Australia Mar 11 15:37 2.9 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Western Australia Mar 09 08:10 3.0 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC West Of Australia Mar 01 22:08 3.1 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Western Australia Feb 27 15:50 3.2 10 MAP I Felt It INFO


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I felt the shaking *
Country where you felt the earthquake *
City/Village where you felt the earthquake *
Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
Latitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
Longitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
Shaking Strength *
MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
People :
Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
People :
Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
People :
Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
Fittings :
Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
Structures :
Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
People :
Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
Fittings :
Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
Structures :
Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
Fittings :
Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
Structures :
Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
Environment :
Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
Fittings :
Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
Structures :
Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
Environment :
Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
Tell us your experience and how many seconds the shaking lasted + let us know if your property has been damaged (even slight damage). (max. 500 characters)
* mandatory fields