Port Hedland hit by 5.9-magnitude earthquake

Sarah Steger and Natalie RichardsThe West Australian
The quake struck 125km from the Pilbara town of Port Hedland.
Camera IconThe quake struck 125km from the Pilbara town of Port Hedland. Credit: Supplied/Peter Carter/Peter Carter

Port Hedland residents have been shaken by an earthquake.

The 5.9-magnitude quake struck about 9.05pm, 125km south east of the Pilbara town.

Residents have reported feeling the ground “rumbling” for several seconds but there are no early reports of damage.

The manager of local pub Last Chance Tavern said the earthquake lasted up to 20 seconds, and he saw the “beer tap lines rocking”.

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“It was the biggest quake I’ve ever felt, so it was pretty reasonable,” he said.

“All the spirit bottles in the back bar were rocking.

“It was quite large, it went on a while.”

Despite the impact, he said not everyone inside the pub noticed when the quake hit, joking he and his staff were the only ones that had because they were “the only ones who were sober”.

“It took me a second but one of the bar staff picked it up straight away and was a bit spun out,” he said.

“When we told customers they were a bit surprised. No one seemed to notice.”

About 30 minutes after the quake hit, the Hedland Unit of the SES had yet to receive a call for help, indicating there may not be extensive damage in the region.

Volcano Discovery reports the quake hit about 17km from Marble Bar at a “shallow depth” of about 10km.

“Shallow earthquakes are felt more strongly than deeper ones as they are closer to the surface,” its website says.

The website says a quake of such a magnitude could cause “light to moderate damage”.

Newman woman Kimba Barry, who took a recording when the earthquake hit, said she heard a “deep rumble”. “It was so loud,” she said.

“We thought it might have been something at the mine but then it went on for way too long.

“The rumbling got stronger and the windows were rattling like crazy.

“My dogs were super confused.”

Resident Emily Cleaver said she was laying on the couch when she felt the house shake about 9pm.

She also initially thought the tremors may have been related to mining activity in the area.

“I initially looked out the window, I thought there was a street sweeper or something,” she said.

“Obviously we get blasts all the time, but it was the middle of the night so it wasn’t a blast.”

Mrs Cleaver said the shaking lasted about a minute, with the window frames rattling.

“You could hear rumbling,” she said.

Swim teacher Zack de Ruyter had returned to his chalet after a few beers when he also felt the ground move.

“All of a sudden the ground started rumbling, I thought it was a 4WD or plane flying overhead,” he said.

“The ground kept on shaking for 30 seconds to a minute.”

Mr de Ruyter said he remembered being given advice as a teenager to stay in a doorway during a quake and went to stand outside.

“I saw a load of people with torches on asking what was going on, it was a pretty weird experience. Pretty cool,” he said.

Western Power has not reported any power outages in the area.

It comes after a strong 5.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Victoria, hitting near Mansfield, 180km north-east of Melbourne, about 9.15am on September 22.

The quake was the strongest in Victoria’s history, and triggered several aftershocks in the days and weeks after, which measured at 3.5, 4.1, 2.5, 3.1, 2.4, 2.9, 2.9 and 2.8.

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