Rare earthquake triggers panic in Australia

Rare earthquake triggers panic in Australia

The rare quake shook buildings, knocked down walls and sent panicked Melbourne residents running into the streets.
The rare quake shook buildings, knocked down walls and sent panicked Melbourne residents running into the streets.

MELBOURNE: A rare quake rattled southeastern Australia early Wednesday, shaking buildings, knocking down walls and sending panicked Melbourne residents running into the streets.

The shallow tremor hit east of the country's second-largest city just after 9am local time and was felt hundreds of kilometres  away. There were no reports of serious injuries.

The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 5.8, later revised up to 5.9, and said it struck at a depth of 10 kilometres.

With Melbourne beginning its eighth week of pandemic lockdown and bracing for a third straight day of violent anti-vaccine protests, most residents were at home when the quake struck.

In a popular shopping area around Melbourne's Chapel Street, masonry debris tumbled from buildings and littered the roads.

Bricks and rubble surrounded Betty's Burgers and large sheets of metal hung off the restaurant awning.

Sizable earthquakes are unusual in Australia.

Geoscience Australia reported the initial quake was followed by a series of four smaller ones, ranging from magnitude 2.5 to 4.1.

Emergency services said they had received calls for help as far away as Dubbo, about 700 kilometres from the quake epicentre, with fire and rescue crews dispatched to help.

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