Region rattled by 5.7 earthquake

Toby Hussey and Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
The earthquake could be felt from Perth to Hopetoun.
Camera IconThe earthquake could be felt from Perth to Hopetoun.

The biggest West Australian earthquake in 20 years rattled homes across the South West on Sunday afternoon, with people feeling tremors from Perth to Albany.

Walls shook and windows violently bowed in the 5.7 magnitude earthquake, which took place near Lake Muir about 124km north-west of Albany at 12.56pm.

It was the seventh earthquake in WA this month, and the fifth-biggest on record.

The tremors could be felt over a 300km radius and were picked up by 13 reporting stations in WA and South Australia.

It preceded smaller magnitude earthquakes later on Sunday afternoon and evening.

No injury or damage is known to have occurred in any of the incidents.

Senior seismologist at Geoscience Australia Phil Cummins, who spoke before the earthquake was upgraded from a 5.6 magnitude to a 5.7, said one that size was rare in Australia.

“5.6 is quite large — you might get a 5.6 every few years throughout Australia,” he said.

As the earthquake’s epicentre was in a remote part of WA where there were few buildings, it was unlikely to cause any serious damage.

Mr Cummins said aftershocks may be felt for several weeks.

“It’s always possible these could be leading up to something bigger but I think it’s more likely we’ll see a decrease in size and frequency,” he said.

“It’s difficult to say if it’s random statistical clustering or if there is something else going on.”

Walpole IGA manager James Griffiths said his shop, which was about 50km away from the epicentre, shook for several moments during the bigger earthquake.

“It was quite a substantial shake,” he said. “It really rattled the whole shop and you could hear it quite well.

“It was also (felt) in other places. One of my staff members at their house could hear it at Myalup.”

David Edmonds was at the Walpole Art Gallery when the earthquake hit. “It was really bizarre,” he said. “Everything was rumbling like a truck — all the furniture was rattling.

“It was really quite unnerving.”

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