5.7-magnitude earthquake hits Australia

SYDNEY • A 5.7-magnitude earthquake rattled popular tourist towns stretching across more than 1,000km of Australia's north-eastern coastline yesterday. The quake hit at a depth of 7km about 54km off Bowen in Queensland state at around noon (Singapore time).

Buildings in Townsville city were evacuated, the Townsville Bulletin reported, but police said there were no reports of major damage.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said there was no tsunami warning for the island continent.

"It's been widely felt right up the coast, from Sunshine Coast up to north of Townsville, so quite a lot of the Queensland coast has felt some shaking," Geoscience Australia senior seismologist Jonathan Bathgate told AFP.

"We haven't had any reports of damage at this stage. The fact that it is 50km offshore is the reason for that. If it was closer to the coast it might have been a different story."

Townsville resident John Towning said the shaking lasted for about six to seven seconds. "I thought, 'there's no train around, no plane around', then I got up and had a look and I thought, 'geez, the whole bloody place is shaking'," Mr Towning told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The tremor followed a 4.6-magnitude quake that struck 126km off the Queensland city of Bundaberg, 800km south of Bowen, early on Sunday.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2016, with the headline '5.7-magnitude earthquake hits Australia'. Print Edition | Subscribe