There was a shake up in Canberra today, though fortunately it had nothing to do with Parliament House. A rare magnitude 3.1 earthquake shook Australia’s capital just after 10:00AM this morning, startling residents but otherwise causing minimal damage.
According to Geoscience Australia, the earthquake hit at 10:05AM AEDT at a depth of 10km, and was felt by people up to 24km from its epicentre. The epicentre was located between Harrison in the ACT and Sutton in NSW, just outside the ACT on the New South Wales side of the border.
Earthquakes in Canberra are not unheard of, but they are rarely felt. A 3.1 magnitude earthquake is uncommonly powerful for the ACT, but remains fairly mild on the overall scale.
Canberrans reacting to the seismic activity on social media have expressed more amusement than concern, many are sharing the “We Will Rebuild” meme. Originating from 2011’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia, the meme features a set of outdoor furniture with one chair tipped over.
Earthquake in Canberra pic.twitter.com/czKgqNL4AE
— Erna Glassford (@SimplyCheecky) January 18, 2019
— Adam Spence (@AdamSpenceAU) January 17, 2019
Canberra earthquake caused by my dog farting
— Dr Mal Meninga PhD (@SEIFFERTOVAL) January 17, 2019
Some residents reported hearing a loud rumble or feeling shaking, but the ACT Emergency Services Agency did not have to dispatch any emergency vehicles in relation to the earthquake. According to The Canberra Times, at least one resident didn’t even realise it was an earthquake until they checked social media.
“It’s normally a bang and a bit of rattling and a few seconds of shaking that might pass you like a truck or a train coming very close past you,” seismologist Hugh Glanville told ABC Radio, via ABC News.
“There has been bigger earthquakes, north of Canberra and south down near the Snowy Mountains, but for a magnitude 3 around Canberra it’s reasonably uncommon for this to occur.”
Did you feel the Earth move this morning in the northern suburbs of Canberra? At approximately 10:05 am AEDT there was a magnitude 3.1 earthquake near Forde. We have already received almost 200 felt reports. You can complete a felt report online at https://t.co/ggGwAKzGGt #eqaus pic.twitter.com/12F8V8hbyp
— Geoscience Australia (@GeoscienceAus) January 17, 2019
A 1.7 magnitude aftershock was also recorded 12 minutes later at 10:17AM, approximately 2km east of the original quake. Further aftershocks can be expected, but they probably won’t be big enough to make people feel anything but slight amusement. That’s what she said.