Darwin was hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake at around midday today, causing parts of the city centre to be evacuated. Some residents reported buildings swaying and small cracks appearing in walls, according to The Guardian, while others said that they were “genuinely worried” for their lives. The tremors lasted for about five minutes.
The earthquake’s epicentre was in the Banda Sea, north of Timor-Leste, approximately 700 kilometres north of Darwin, occurring some 200 kilometres beneath the sea. The Bureau of Meteorology has since issued an alert saying there was no tsunami threat to Australia, with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre noting that it was “too deep inside the earth”—but Jonathan Bathgate, a seismologist at Geosciences Australia, said “it was certainly something that was felt quite strongly in the Darwin CBA area.”
“We get magnitude sevens not often but on a regular sort of basis,” Jonathan added. “They happen sort of once every 10 years or even more frequently than that.”
The quake was felt across the Northern Territory, according to NT News—as far east as Jabiru and as far south as Katherine, each more than 250 kilometres from Darwin. No injuries or damage have been reported, but a number of office buildings and hotels in central Darwin were evacuated as a precaution.
Darwin resident Kavinda Weerachandra said "everything started shaking" in his house, Fairfax reports. "I didn’t think much of it first but as time goes it got stronger, I can hear my house creaking and rattling. And things on my desk started to fall. I was genuinely worried for my life for a second there."
Another resident, Leah Potter, told The Guardian that “It felt like there were two [tremors]. First there was just a little one and my son came in wondering what was happening, then there was a pause and there was a really a big one and the place was rocking.. everything was rocking for a while.”
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