Magnitude 5.8 quake in Melbourne shakes Canberra, South East NSW

Lottie Twyford 22 September 2021 86

Canberra and surrounds earthquake map. Image: Geoscience Australia.

Residents of Canberra, the South Coast, Geelong and Melbourne have had their mornings shaken up by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake at a depth of 10 kilometres.

According to Geoscience Australia, the epicentre of the earthquake was near Mansfield in Victoria and it occurred at around 9:15 am. It’s believed to be the biggest earthquake in Victoria for a century or more.

People from Wagga Wagga, Tumut, Canberra, the South West Slopes and the surrounding region, and the South Coast from Narooma to Ulladulla have already reported experiencing the quake via the Geoscience Australia website. You can see Geoscience Australia’s “felt reports” here.

In Canberra, reports have come in from Braddon, Ainslie, Turner, Kaleen and Deakin among many other areas. Most of these are likely to be in valley floors, where shocks are felt more strongly than on hilltops.

Geologist Marion Leiba says that the quake’s amplitude was too large to be fully measured on her seismograph in Kambah, which also shows two aftershocks.

Marion says that the Newcastle earthquake aftershocks were felt across much of South Eastern Australia, although it was a good deal smaller in terms of energy released. Newcastle was rated a 5.4 magnitude earthquake and past quakes at Gunning and Dalton nearby have been up to 5.5 magnitude. They were also perceived across many areas of NSW and Victoria.

“This one is a lot bigger,” Marion said. “The Continental shelf would get one of this size on average every eight years, but a quake this size in South Eastern Australia is a very rare occurrence.”

Seismograph reading

Geologist Marion Leiba’s seismograph readout from Kambah. The main quake is at the left with an aftershock around 9:34 am. Image: Marion Leiba.

Australian earthquakes tend to be shallow and at 10 km, this means the breakage in the earth’s crust happened very close to the surface and human habitation. Marion says that larger earthquakes happen relatively frequently in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, but tend to be very deep.

“They often won’t do much damage if they’re hundreds of kilometres deep. But 10 kilometres beneath the surface is very close and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear reports of significant damage”, she said.

Aftershocks from a large earthquake could go on for days or weeks and Marion said a sensitive seismograph would detects tens if not hundreds of small shocks after the Mansfield quake.

People were quick to take to social media to report their experiences.

In Broulee, whole buildings were said to have moved, while a Victorian resident said she heard a rumbling in the distance before her laptop and desk starting shaking.

“When I looked outside, everyone was standing on their balconies looking scared, too!”

There are some reports of building damage beginning to emerge in Melbourne where inner-city apartment buildings are being evacuated as a precaution.

In Greenway, Julie said the quake “felt as though there was a generator running downstairs for 10 or 20 seconds”, while Nevenka, also in Greenway on the sixth floor of an apartment, said the “building shook and mirrors swayed, cats freaked out and wouldn’t move”.

In Lyneham, Damien said the “5th-floor whole building was swaying side to side, concrete walls were creaking and most things that could had a visible oscillation going on”.

The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed there is now no tsunami threat to Australia.

Did you feel the quake too? Share your stories with us.

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86 Responses to Magnitude 5.8 quake in Melbourne shakes Canberra, South East NSW
Billy Farmakis Billy Farmakis 11:19 am 22 Sep 21

If you felt it please report it under "Felt Report" on Helps our seismologists asses the Earthquake.

Noelene Davey Noelene Davey 11:17 am 22 Sep 21

I didnt feel it in Canberra.

Terese Clear Terese Clear 11:14 am 22 Sep 21

Leah Niki Melanie Skates Troy Brown u guys feel it?

Marion Hester Marion Hester 11:02 am 22 Sep 21

Sure did. Bungendore

Joollee Lawless Joollee Lawless 10:55 am 22 Sep 21

What time was this

    Bridget Phillips Bridget Phillips 11:04 am 22 Sep 21

    Joollee Lawless about 9am.

    Didn't feel anything in Belconnen.

    Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 1:27 pm 22 Sep 21

    Bridget Phillips nothing in Woden

    Bridget Phillips Bridget Phillips 2:50 pm 22 Sep 21

    Jorge Gatica not in Downer either.

    My son lives in Wadonga.

    My daughter in law to be said it was awful there. My 5 year old granddaughter freaked out.

keena keena 10:48 am 22 Sep 21

We felt the tremors in two places in Watson.

Jonté Hanson Jonté Hanson 10:44 am 22 Sep 21

Yes, felt in throsby

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:44 am 22 Sep 21

My perros went loco when they heard the terramoto.

Jancey Willis Jancey Willis 10:44 am 22 Sep 21

Haloti Moli tell them it was only you brother .. 💨 😂

Mouna Nchouki Mouna Nchouki 10:36 am 22 Sep 21

My bed nudged it got me up real fast !

Danika Aleriah Zaiden Peter Danika Aleriah Zaiden Peter 10:30 am 22 Sep 21

Yeah in Bonython it felt like the ground and my couch was vibrating didn't expect It to be an earthquake tho

Julie Wood Julie Wood 10:25 am 22 Sep 21

Def felt it in Greenway while I was sitting at my desk. Felt as though there was a generator running downstairs for 10 or 20 seconds

Aaron Kenny Aaron Kenny 10:18 am 22 Sep 21

Didn’t feel a thing or hear anything

    Rochelle Trekking Rochelle Trekking 10:25 am 22 Sep 21

    Aaron Kenny nothing for us in Fadden either

    Aaron Kenny Aaron Kenny 10:27 am 22 Sep 21

    Rochelle Trekking I’m in Braddon and apparently others in Braddon felt it. Maybe those that live in higher apartments potentially felt it more then those closer to the ground.

    Must of been one of the minor fault lines as where no where near a major fault line

    Rochelle Trekking Rochelle Trekking 10:33 am 22 Sep 21

    Aaron Kenny we are in a house at the base of Wanniassa Hill. Three of us and 2 dogs. May be we were otherwise focussed???

    Aaron Kenny Aaron Kenny 10:34 am 22 Sep 21

    Rochelle Trekking possibly

Rachel Reimer Rachel Reimer 10:17 am 22 Sep 21

Samson Mbiko definitely (always) believe you 😅

Cattledog Oakley Cattledog Oakley 10:15 am 22 Sep 21

Ben Sainsbury I thought it was my heart beating when I thought of u but it turns out it was a qwakey

    Ben Sainsbury Ben Sainsbury 12:36 pm 22 Sep 21

    Cattledog Oakley I thought so too. You do have a big heart.

Greg Walker-jones Greg Walker-jones 10:14 am 22 Sep 21

I Felt It really good up here in a tower crane

Keir Smith Keir Smith 10:12 am 22 Sep 21

Felt it in Narrabundah !

Nevenka Eva Nevenka Eva 10:11 am 22 Sep 21

6th floor in Greenway. Building shook and mirrors swayed, cats freaked out and wouldn’t move 😅

Jasmine R Deva Jasmine R Deva 10:09 am 22 Sep 21

Crouse Kee we felt it at home... Crazy

Katy Ciacia Katy Ciacia 10:08 am 22 Sep 21

Yes. In Kambah. Vibrations for about 20 seconds

    Wendy Maree Vandervlist Wendy Maree Vandervlist 10:24 am 22 Sep 21

    Katy Ciacia so did we on boddington

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