Powerful offshore earthquake shakes north Queensland

UPDATE 3:50PM | AFTERSHOCKS are already being recorded following a powerful magnitude 5.8 earthquake which struck off the coast of north Queensland earlier this afternoon.

Three schools in the area have been closed as a precaution following the strong quake which struck offshore of Bowen around 2.30pm.

An aftershock measuring in at a magnitude 4.0 on the Richter scale was recorded in the same spot around 3.30pm.


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It’s understood Cairns and Mackay airports were also closed however are now in the process of reopening.

We’re being warned to expect further aftershocks in the coming days, with some possibly stronger than the first.

UPDATE 3:30PM | THERE has been no reports of any damage following this afternoon’s powerful magnitude 5.8 earthquake which struck off the coast of north Queensland.

Residents in the area have been warned to expect further aftershocks in the coming days, some possibly stronger than the initial quake.

One resident in Airlie Beach told myGC how their house shook “like a washing machine” for several terrifying seconds.

“We weren’t sure at first but the shaking got stronger and it became clearer what was happening,” they told myGC.

“The whole ground (and house) shook quite dramatically for at least 10 seconds like a washing machine (overall lasting 30 seconds).

“We ran outside to find the neighbours who had experienced the same thing.”

The quake struck offshore of Bowen, around 30 kilometres north of Hayman Island, around 2.30pm.

Although very shallow, striking at a depth of less than eight kilometres, the tremor did not generate a tsunami.

UPDATE 2:50PM | RESIDENTS have reported feeling the ground shake after an undersea earthquake rattled parts of north Queensland this afternoon.

According to Geoscience Australia, the quake struck around 60 kilometres offshore of Bowen and 30 kilometres north of Hayman Island around 2.30pm.

Early reports have the quake measuring in at a magnitude 5.8. This is a preliminary measurement and may be revised up or down once all data has been retrieved and reviewed.

QUAKE

Location of Thursday’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake offshore of Queensland PHOTO: Geoscience Australia

The quake was shallow, reportedly hitting at a depth of just 7.8 kilometres.

Geoscience Australia initially said the quake had the potential to generate tsunami waves, however, the Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no threat to Australia.

“There is no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories,” the ATWC said in a statement issued shortly after the quake struck.

Residents located along the coast between Townsville and Mackay and adjacent inland areas have reported feeling the ground move and buildings shake.

Meanwhile, in Airlie Beach, residents have recalled the terrifying moment their homes shook “like a washing machine”.

The strongest effects are said to have been felt in the coastal town of Bowen.

Fortunately, there have been no reports of damage.

EARLIER: Reports are beginning to emerge of a possible earthquake in north Queensland this afternoon.

According to 7 News Queensland, residents in Mackay, Airlie Beach and Townsville have reported feeling tremors.

Geoscience Australia is yet to confirm the reports.

MORE TO COME …