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Massive Earthquake Felt by Thousands Near Australian City

The 4.4 magnitude earthquake has been felt by more than 5,500 people.

Thousands of Victorians have been rattled by an earthquake near Melbourne, Victoria, just after midnight on Feb. 9.

Geoscience Australia confirmed the quake struck near Leongatha, in South Gippsland, about 135 km south east of Melbourne.

While thousands of people were rattled by the tremors, no injuries or deaths had been reported in Victoria at the time of writing.

The earthquake was felt as far north as Sunbury in Melbourne to Wilson’s Promontory National Park in the south, the government agency said.

A chart on the Geoscience Australia earthquake website indicates more than 5,000 people have reported feeling the earthquake.

The agency’s website states the earthquake was 4.4-magnitude and 10 kilometres in depth, with 5,496 felt reports lodged.

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Earlier reports had suggested the earthquake was a 4.3-magnitude event at 12.49 a.m. in the morning.

Victorian State Emergency Service said no injuries or damage had been reported as a result of the earthquake.

“If you ever experience a major earthquake remember to drop, cover and hold on,” the SES said.

The earthquake follows a 3.1 magnitude tremor nearby, also in Gippsland, just three days ago on Feb. 6. A magnitude 5 earthquake was also felt in Melbourne in October 2023. Further, a 4.6 magnitude quake was felt near Woods Point in Melbourne last June.

Australia does not have an early warning system for earthquakes, like California and Japan, The Age noted.

Seismology Research Centre chief scientist Adam Pascale posted to social media immediately after the earthquake in the early hours of Feb. 9.

“It’s about 10 minutes to 1 a.m., this morning there was a magnitude four earthquake…it’s somewhere we had a magnitude three earlier this week,” he said at the time.

“Now this is a larger event. So that as obviously a foreshock. We don’t know that until it actually happens. So it woke me in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. so I am sure that a lot of people across the city have felt this one so there may be aftershocks continuing, so we will see,” he said.

Mr. Pascale later told the ABC that the earthquake in Foster on Feb. 6, around 10 kilometres from the Feb. 9 earthquake, was probably on a different fault line.

“It’s a known area for earthquake activity, as is much of Gippsland and the Great Dividing Range,” he said.

He warned there could be extra tremors in the future because the area is still active.

“In the first hour after the earthquake there was probably half a dozen magnitude two’s or so and we often see that. We’re still having little ones now and we expect to see them for probably days or weeks,” he said.

Another resident told Sunrise he thought the earthquake was banging on the door at first, before realizing it was a quake.

“I thought it was someone banging on the back door out there and I got up from the office and walked out here and the windows were shaking and birds were falling out of the tree and then I realized it was an earthquake,” another resident told Sunrise.

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