Strong 5.6 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Australia’s West Coast

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Perth Earthquake National Geographic/Wikimedia Commons

The US Geological Survey has reported an earthquake has hit Western Australia, off the coast of Perth.

The quake – which was recorded at 10:26pm local time on Sunday (December 16) – was centred about 116 kilometres (72 miles) southwest of Coral Bay, 184 kilometres (114 miles) northwest of Carnarvon and 989 kilometres (615 miles) northwest of Perth.

An initial report stated the earthquake had a strong 6.1 magnitude, according to Sputnik, but various other outlets are all reporting it as 5.6, including BNO News, at the time of writing (December 16, 3:10pm).

The reports of the earthquake come just a day after a massive 7.6 underwater quake hit near the French Overseas territory of New Caledonia.

This was followed by a series of aftershocks, as well as a tsunami warning.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake rattled northeast of Norfolk Island, which is 1,412 kilometres (877 miles) due east of mainland Australia’s Evans Head.

The tremors were registered at a depth of 10km and about 681km northeast of the island. There’s been no immediate tsunami warning and no reports of damage or casualties.

In the early hours of this morning, a strong 5.1 magnitude earthquake also struck off Hualien County in Taiwan, causing ripples to be felt across the Asian country.

The quake hit at 9.21pm GMT and was originally reported as being 5.6 in magnitude. Luckily, there are no tsunami warnings or casualties reported.

Earthquake tweet@etvofluff/Twitter

One person documented the event on their Twitter account, describing how it woke them up:

Any of my readers live in Taiwan? That felt like a big earthquake despite being only 5.6 on the Richter Scale.

I got shook awake by the big shake at the end – that was positively terrifying. Sound in, stay safe!

The epicentre of the quake was located 40 kilometres southeast of Hualien County Hall, and is said to have struck at a depth of 26km, according to CENC.

Taiwan is located in the Ring of Fire – the largest and most active fault line in the world. The Ring of Fire is said to be responsible for more than 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes.

Today has also seen an earthquake hit southwest China – in the Sichuan Province.

According to XinhuaNet, the earthquake hit the county of Xingwen in the city of Yibin, at 12:46pm (Sunday 16), with a depth of 12km, according to the local government.

By 5:30pm (local time), 16 people had been reported injured as a result of the earthquake, and a total of 378 people have been evacuated.

More than 300 rescuers have been sent to the quake site, according to local authorities, while residents in areas near the epicentre felt strong tremors. Some houses collapsed and some roads were cut off by landslides.

Strong earthquakes only happen occasionally in parts of Australia.

A strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Northern Territory in May 2016 but caused no damage, and in August 1997, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake was recorded off Collier Bay on West Australia’s far north coast.

Hopefully everyone in the affected regions are safe and well.

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Anne-Marie Bojan

Anne-Marie Bojan

A sports enthusiast with a BA (Hons) in Sports Journalism, who can be found predominantly at Villa Park. Having completed a Masters in Broadcast Journalism, she then went on to work at Sky Sports, the BBC, and the Mirror. When not engrossed in sport, it's animals, guitars, and Liam Gallagher which take main focus.