Melbourne rocked by Victoria's biggest earthquake on record

After a magnitude 5.9 earthquake, a damaged building was found in Melbourne, Australia on 22 September.
On 22 September, Australia's state of Victoria was shaken by the largest onshore earthquake recorded. Although some buildings were damaged, no one was seriously injured.

According to Geoscience Australia, the magnitude 5.9 earthquake occurred at 9:15 AM local time. The Alpine National Park, 120 km east of Melbourne was the epicenter. At around 10 kms, the earthquake's depth was very shallow.

Melbourne residents who are currently locked down by covid-19 reported feeling the ground shake for up to 20 seconds. Canberra, located just over 300 km north-east from the epicentre, also experienced tremors.


A few buildings in Melbourne were partially destroyed and power outages were experienced in parts of the city. However, no serious injuries or major damage was reported.

Dee Ninis, from the Seismology Research Centre (Melbourne), says that this is due to the epicentre being in a remote area. It was really fortunate it wasn't in a densely populated area, she said.

According to Meghan Miller, Australian National University Canberra, Australia experiences relatively few earthquakes due to its location in the middle a tectonic plates. She says that countries like Japan, Indonesia, and New Zealand are more at risk as they sit near plate boundaries. It is a common misconception that earthquakes don't happen in Australia.

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake that struck Newcastle, New South Wales, in 1989 caused severe damage and 13 deaths.

According to Phil Cummins of the Australian National University, earthquakes occur when the tectonic plates it rests on rub against each other. This causes stress to build up and eventually cause a fault in the plate to burst.

Cummins says that a magnitude 5.7 earthquake was recorded in the same region of Victoria in 1966. This suggests that it could be an area that is susceptible to rupturing as stress builds up.

Cummins predicts that there won't be any more large aftershocks of magnitude 4.1. It was recorded just 15 minutes after the morning earthquake. The Bureau of Meteorology in Australia has also concluded that there is no tsunami threat.