Magnitude 6.0 earthquake strikes near Melbourne, tremors felt across southeast Australia

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE, (Reuters) – An earthquake with a 6.0 magnitude struck near Melbourne in Australia on Wednesday, Geoscience Australia said, causing damage to buildings in the country’s second largest city and sending tremors throughout neighbouring states.

The quake’s epicentre was near the rural town of Mansfield in the state of Victoria, about 200 km (124 miles) northeast of Melbourne, and was at a depth of 10 km (six miles).

Radio station 3AW posted a picture of rubble on one of Melbourne’s main streets which it attributed to the quake, and people in northern parts of the city said on social media they had lost power, while others said they were evacuated from buildings.

The quake was felt as far away as city of Adelaide, 800 km (500 miles) to the west in the state of South Australia, and Sydney, 900 km (600 miles) to the north in New South Wales state, although there were no reports of damage outside Melbourne and no reports of injuries.

More than half Australia’s 25 million population lives in the southeast of the country from Adelaide to Melbourne to Sydney.

The mayor of Mansfield, Mark Holcombe, said he was in his home office on his farm when the quake struck and ran outside for safety.

“I have been in earthquakes overseas before and it seemed to go on longer than I have experienced before,” Holcombe told the ABC. “The other thing that surprised me was how noisy it was. It was a real rumbling like a big truck going past.”

He said he knew of no serious damage near the quake epicentre, although some residents reported problems with telecommunications.

No tsunami threat has been issued to the Australian mainland, islands or territories, the country’s Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement.

The quake presented a potential disruption for anti-lockdown protests expected in Melbourne on Wednesday, which would be the third day of unrest that has reached increasing levels of violence and police response.