A magnitude-5.4 earthquake has hit the Lake Muir area of Western Australia’s south-west, about 330 kilometres south of Perth.
The earthquake struck just near Walpole just after 5:00am, with people feeling its effects as far away as Perth and Albany.
Many residents in Perth took to social media to say they were woken up by the tremor and report buildings shaking.
Mary E Murphy tweet: Yup. Earthquake – first one I’ve actually felt in 7 years here. Shaking woke me up, whole apartment swayed and creaked for about 20 seconds. Crazy. #earthquake #perth #seismic
Kojanup resident Jane Beswick, who lives about 150 kilometres away from where the earthquake struck, said she was also woken up.
“I was dead to the world,” she said.
“It was eight minutes past five because I looked at the clock as soon as I felt the tremor.”
“The wardrobe started rattling because I’ve got timber floors and the house shook.”
‘Like a train going through’
Pemberton resident Debra O’Donnell said her whole house shook and the quake was “quite violent”.
“This one was really big, it shook the whole house,” she said.
“It was like the whole roof was going to cave in.
“It felt like a train going through and we don’t have trains here.”
Bridgetown resident Frank said it was the largest tremor he had felt since moving to the area almost 15 years ago.
“There was like a rush of wind … and then the house started moving and rumbling and shaking. It was very loud,” he said
Hayley Roman tweet: Am I lightheaded or did #Perth just have a minor earthquake?! #perthweather
Geoscience Australia senior seismologist Jonathan Bathgate said it was the second large earthquake to hit the area within two months.
“This is a little bit of increased activity following the magnitude-5.7 that occurred in the Lake Muir area on the 16th of September,” Mr Bathgate said.
“Prior to this magnitude-5.4, the largest earthquake in the aftershock sequence was a 4.6 that occurred on October 12.
“So the activity has been fairly consistent over the last few months in that area, and we’ve located more than 600 earthquakes in that period.
“Most of them are very small … [and] won’t have been felt, but when we start to get into the threes and higher is when they really start to be felt by the public.”
Latest quake ‘more violent’: farmer
Mark Muir’s property at Mordalup is close to the epicentre of the latest earthquake and the last large one in September.
“This one here was a lot more violent than the original one we had here,” he said.
“It wasn’t as loud, but it shook us all up, made us jump out of bed and think twice.”
Mr Muir’s neighbour Rob de Campo discovered cracks zigzagging across his paddocks following the September quake.
He said he was concerned the tremors would get bigger.
“It’s sort of exciting but I tell you what, I’m really over it,” he said.
“I just wish it would go back to sleep … because at the same time, especially at night time, it is very frightening.”
Aftershock sequence may continue
Mr Bathgate said the south-west corner of Western Australia was very seismically active.
“This part of the country is where we record nearly half of Australia’s earthquakes every year,” he said.
“It’s not unheard of to have a large earthquake in amongst an aftershock sequence like this.
“We had the magnitude-5.7, and generally what happens is those earthquakes will get smaller and less frequent over time, but you do get these larger earthquakes mixed in.
“Unfortunately, we can’t say whether there is going to be any further large activity like this.”