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In south-eastern Australia, in a region unaccustomed to earthquakes, the earthquake occurred only ten kilometers deep and surprised the inhabitants of Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city. It has been felt for hundreds of miles around. At 9 a.m. (1 a.m. KST), emergency services received calls for help as far as Dubbo, about 700 kilometers from the epicenter.
The United States Institute for Geological Studies (USGS) put the magnitude at 5.8, before revising it to 5.9. Most of Melbourne’s residents, confined for eight weeks, were at home by the time the earth shook.

Scenes of panic but no victim

Scenes of panicked residents leaving homes have invaded social networks. Among them, Zume Phim, 33, owner of Melbourne’s Oppen cafe, rushed into the streets when the quake hit. “The whole building was shaking. All the windows, the glass were shaking, like a wave of tremors. I had never experienced this. It was a little scary, ”he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, responding from New York, insisted there were no casualties or significant damage. He nevertheless conceded the “very disturbing” side of the earthquake for the population, in an area not used to tremors like Australia.

Large earthquakes are unusual in Southeast Australia, a fairly densely populated region. It is the biggest earthquake in south-eastern Australia in years, said Mike Sandiford, a geologist at the University of Melbourne. An earthquake of this magnitude occurs every “10 to 20 years in South East Australia, the last was Thorpdale in 2012,” he said.

Four replicas

Geoscience Australia said the earthquake was followed by a series of four aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 2.5 to 4.1.

Australians should expect “several hundred aftershocks, most not perceptible to humans, but probably ten will be felt,” the scientist warned, speculating on the “billions of dollars in damage” that would have occurred. caused the earthquake “if it had occurred in Melbourne”.
Work to repair the damage could be complicated by containment and ongoing protests. Hundreds of people wearing work boots and construction jackets flocked to central Melbourne on Wednesday to protest against compulsory vaccination for construction workers as most construction sites were abruptly closed in the city. Melbourne riot police on Tuesday used pepper spray and rubber bullets to break up a violent protest and said further gatherings “would not be tolerated”.

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