Strong 6.6-magnitude quake rattles off Western Australia

Xinhua
A 6.6-magnitude earthquake has been felt across the state of Western Australia on Sunday and is believed to be the largest to ever hit the state.
Xinhua

A 6.6-magnitude earthquake has been felt across the state of Western Australia on Sunday and is believed to be the largest to ever hit the state.

The earthquake struck 462 km off Australia's northwest coast in the Indian Ocean at 1:39pm local time (0539 GMT), however, the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no risk of a tsunami.

While no major damage has been reported, according to the Geoscience Australia, the tremors were felt from Darwin in the country's north, all the way to Esperance in the southwest, a distance of over 2,500 km.

There have also been reports of store inventory including bottles being broken after falling from shelves.

The earthquake is believed to be the biggest to ever hit the state of Western Australia, eclipsing a 6.5-magnitude earthquake in 1968 which damaged parts of state capital Perth.

Jody Gaunt, a resident of the town of Derby, told the Australian Associated Press that she was sitting outside when Sunday's earthquake hit.

"The trees stopped moving and the breeze stopped blowing," she said.

"We were thinking, 'Is this real or not real?' We've never had an earthquake up here, or a tremor."

So far a 4.1-magnitude aftershock has been registered.

Senior seismologist at GeoScience Australia Phil Cummins told the West Australian newspaper that aftershocks were to be expected.

He said that subsequent tremors would decrease in magnitude and occur further apart.

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