BIG QUAKE HITS STATE

The West Australian - - FRONT PAGE - Bethany Hi­att and Rourke Walsh

An earth­quake that shook build­ings from Perth to Al­bany yes­ter­day was one of the biggest to hit WA.

The mag­ni­tude 5.6 earth­quake struck be­tween the towns of Walpole and Ko­jonup about 1pm. No sig­nif­i­cant dam­age was re­ported.

Geo­science Aus­tralia se­nior seis­mol­o­gist Phil Cum­mins said the tremor was con­sid­er­ably smaller than the mag­ni­tude 6.5 quake that de­stroyed the Wheat­belt town of Meck­er­ing 50 years ago next month.

“Nev­er­the­less, this is quite a large earth­quake,” he said.

“If we dis­count the off­shore earth­quakes, the earth­quake north of Walpole is among the largest 24 earth­quakes to have ever been recorded in WA.”

The last mag­ni­tude 5.6 earth­quake in WA was in 2016 near Norse­man. Pro­fes­sor Cum­mins said it was likely af­ter­shocks from yes­ter­day’s tremor would con­tinue dur­ing the next week.

While Perth res­i­dents felt build­ings shud­der, peo­ple across the Great South­ern re­ported hear­ing a low rum­bling which they thought was thun­der or a big truck go­ing past.

Mark Blair, who lives 4km west of the Franklin River Bridge on Muir High­way, said at first he thought it was a sonic boom or a low-fly­ing plane, but it lasted about 20 sec­onds.

“By in­ter­na­tional stan­dards it was noth­ing se­ri­ous, a paint­ing dropped off the wall at a mate of mine’s place, but my old farm­house shook like Aero­plane jelly,” he said.

“Noth­ing much fell down at my place but it was much worse than it has ever rat­tled in a storm. It was some­thing to talk about at the pub for a cou­ple of weeks.”

A Ko­jonup res­i­dent who asked not to be named said her cat had been act­ing strangely all day, re­fus­ing to leave her side.

“All of a sud­den, all my glass slid­ing doors in my lounge room were shak­ing,” she said.

“I just grabbed the cat and ran out­side and I could see ev­ery­thing rat­tling.”

Judy Fox, from the gen­eral store in Fran­k­land River 70km south of Ko­jonup, said it re­minded her of the Meck­er­ing quake, which hap­pened when she was liv­ing in the nearby town of Bev­er­ley.

“We’ve been here 16 years and we haven’t felt a tremor like this in that time,” she said.

Walpole Ho­tel-Mo­tel man­ager Dee Hillin said she heard a rum­ble and the ho­tel started shak­ing.

“Some of the staff didn’t re­alise but be­cause we had a smaller one last week I knew what it was straight away and my hus­band raced out of the of­fice and said, ‘Did you feel that’,” she said.

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