Largest EQ hit off Indonesia since 2007 felt more than 600km away in Darwin, shaken Australia's Top End

(Photo: A shipping container was shaken off its stands at Nguiu on the Tiwi Islands, about 100 kilometres north of Darwin. -NT Police-)

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AN earthquake off Indonesia has shaken Australia's Top End, rattling windows and doors and waking residents from their beds early today.

The magnitude 7.2 quake struck in the Banda Sea off Indonesia, but was felt more than 600km away in Darwin, at about 2.30am local time.

Geoscience Australia senior seismologist, Mark Leonard, said the quake had been widely felt.

"It has been felt over several hundred kilometres of Australia's coastline," he said.

He said the quake was the largest to hit the Banda Arc in about seven years.

 

It woke up residents in Darwin with several taking to social media to report the tremor.

"Did you feel that earthquake too?" asked one on Facebook.

"Woke, me up .. the whole house was rocking," said another.

Territorians jumped on to the NT News Facebook to share their quake experiences, some even as it was happening.

"I'm on a 5th floor apartment and it woke me up," posted Kylie Nicholson from the CBD.

"I'm out on Croker Island... brought back memories of 2011 Christmas in Christchurch... scary," wrote Clare Schoeller.

"Oh my god, it sounded like a train," said Shelley Carter in suburban Jingili.

 

Overnight staff at the Darwin weather bureau evacuated their third-storey office while the building shook.

Duty forecaster Angeline Prasad says the tremor was the strongest she has felt.

"The building started shaking and it just became worse," she said.

"It is the worst tremor I've felt in Darwin.

"When things started falling off shelves we decided to go to an evacuation point, which is outside the building."

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Top End shakes as big quake moves earth

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A magnitude 7.3 earthquake in the Banda Sea off Indonesia has been felt more than 600 kilometres away in Darwin.

Geoscience Australia says there could be more aftershocks from the quake that shook the Top End of the Northern Territory overnight.

Tremors were felt in Darwin and Katherine at about 2.30am local time.

Overnight staff at the Darwin weather bureau evacuated their third-storey office while the building shook.

Duty forecaster Angeline Prasad says the tremor was the strongest she has felt.

"The building started shaking and it just became worse," she said.

"It is the worst tremor I've felt in Darwin.

"When things started falling off shelves we decided to go to an evacuation point, which is outside the building."

Geoscience senior seismologist Dr Mark Leonard says, while there have been quakes of a similar magnitude felt in Darwin before, people are describing last night's tremor as particularly intense.

"We have had a few reports from people saying they think it is the strongest, even though we know if you go back 20, 30 years there have been a number of earthquakes this size," he said.

"But there might have been some sort of focusing of the waves this time."

An engineering specialist says the tremor is a pointer to why building standards should be reviewed in northern Australia.

Professor Kevin McKew from Central Queensland University says it is a warning that a large, damaging earthquake could strike at any time.

"The big one is yet to come," he said.

"We haven't had a great earthquake, as I would call it, but we've had plenty of warning calls.

"I think it will happen, it's just a matter of when will it happen.

"We know it is probably a once in 300 or 400 year earthquake but we have no indication to say when it's about to happen.

"But we just have to plan for it."

One Darwin resident says she was sleeping when her bed started moving.

"The bed was really shaking violently, all my sliding doors rattling and windows were rattling, and the wardrobe was sliding violently and rattling," she said.

"It just seemed to go on and on and on, and then when it died down, it even had another violent shudder again.

"It certainly got the adrenaline running."

Residents further south in Katherine, 200 kilometres south of Darwin, also felt tremors.

Indonesian geophysics officials also said they had not received any reports of damage.

The quake was felt only weakly in the districts of North Halamahera and Morotai which were closest to the epicentre, Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency said in an update.

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Strong earthquake hits Indonesia, wakes up residents in Darwin, Australia

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The US Geological Survey measured the quake at 7.1 on the Richter Scale. It says  the quake struck offshore, with the epicentre 236km northwest of the city of Saumlaki. The quake was reported at a depth of 155km.

GeoScience Australia measured the tremor as 7.3 on the Richter scale.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre had no immediate tsunami warning.

There were no initial reports of damage to areas around the site in Indonesia.

The quake hit shortly before 4am AEDT today.

It woke up residents in Darwin with several taking to social media to report the tremor.

"Did you feel that earthquake too?" asked one on Facebook.

"Woke, me up .. the whole house was rocking," said another.

Territorians jumped on to the NT News Facebook to share their quake experiences, some even as it was happening.

"I'm on a 5th floor apartment and it woke me up," posted Kylie Nicholson from the CBD.

"I'm out on Croker Island... brought back memories of 2011 Christmas in Christchurch... scary," wrote Clare Schoeller.

"Oh my god, it sounded like a train," said Shelley Carter in suburban Jingili.

Indonesia is located in the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common.

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Indonesia earthquake shakes Darwin

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AN earthquake off Indonesia has shaken Australia's Top End, rattling windows and doors and waking residents from their beds early today.

The magnitude 7.2 quake struck in the Banda Sea off Indonesia, but was felt more than 600km away in Darwin, at about 2.30am local time.

Geoscience Australia senior seismologist, Mark Leonard, said the quake had been widely felt.

"It has been felt over several hundred kilometres of Australia's coastline," he said.

He said the quake was the largest to hit the Banda Arc in about seven years.

Its epicentre was at about 180km depth, Dr Leonard said. It would not have been strong enough to cause damage on nearby islands or to trigger a tsunami.

Darwin residents took to social media soon after the quake hit.

"Pretty sure there was an earthquake here in Darwin town about 5 mins ago. Birds have gone quiet & surf's up in the pool next door!" Carmel Rooney tweeted.

Others telephoned local radio stations.

One told the ABC she was sleeping when her bed started moving.

"The bed was really shaking violently, all my sliding doors rattling and windows were rattling and the wardrobe was sliding violently and rattling," she said.

"It just seemed to go on and on and on, and then when it died down it even had another violent shudder again.

"It certainly got the adrenaline running."

Residents further south in Katherine also reportedly felt tremors.

Kevin McCue, an adjunct professor of earthquake engineering at Central Queensland University, told the ABC's AM program the earthquake should be taken as a warning that a massive, damaging earthquake could strike at any time.

"Big one's yet to come. We haven't had a great earthquake, as I would call it. We've had plenty of warning calls," he said.

Dr Leonard said that while a magnitude eight quake could strike in areas to Australia's north at "almost any time", such a quake would be unlikely to cause significant damage in Darwin.

He said today's quake had caused one magnitude .3 aftershock, and there could be others throughout the day.

Indonesian geophysics officials reportedly said they had not received any reports of damage.

The quake was felt only weakly in the districts of North Halamahera and Morotai which were closest to the epicentre, Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency said in an update.

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/indonesia-earthquake-sh...

http://www.news.com.au/world/strong-71-magnitude-quake-hits-off-ind...

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-11/quake-off-indonesia-felt-in-d...

 

 

 

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