Australia: 5.9 magnitude Earthquake strikes Melbourne, buildings damaged

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake shook southeast Australia, damaging buildings in the city of Melbourne.

The earthquake happened about 09:15am local time on Wednesday at Mansfield, not far from the Victorian state capital.

The earthquake was also felt in neighbouring South Australia and New South Wales (NSW).

It was followed by two aftershocks of 4.0 and 3.1 magnitude.

While this is one of Australia’s largest earthquakes in recent years, it has not caused significant damage.

Victoria’s State Emergency Service warned residents to be alert for possible aftershocks.

“If you are located in Victoria, you are in danger. Expect aftershocks, stay away from damaged buildings and other hazards. Avoid driving, except for emergencies,” the authority said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “we have had no reports of serious injuries and that is very good news”.

Several high-rise towers and a city hospital were also briefly evacuated, residents reported. Some city tram lines had been suspended due to damage.

Large earthquakes are uncommon in Australia because the continent lies centrally on a tectonic plate.

This quake struck at a shallow depth of 10km according to Geosciences Australia. It was initially measured at 6.0 magnitude before being revised to 5.9.

The geoscience agency says Australia experiences a potentially damaging earthquake once about every 10 years.