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Stories emerge from epicentre after earthquake

WHEN the magnitude 5.2 earthquake struck less than 25km from her house, Eidsvold's Debbra O'Rourke was returning to bed following a late-night trip to the bathroom.

Moments later, a collision of earth about 16km beneath the ground would force her home to shake and force Mrs O'Rourke to grab her husband.

"It was 2am when i felt the bed shake," she said.

"I grabbed my husband as we felt and heard  the house shaking, then the power went out.

"We went outside to a weird quietness. Just dogs barking. Then the birds started to scatter.

"It was very unsettling, my imagination was running riot."

Bedside lamps lit up as fast as social media this morning as Bundaberg residents across the region woke to an earthquake.
Bedside lamps lit up as fast as social media this morning as Bundaberg residents across the region woke to an earthquake. Geoscience Australia

Mrs O'Rourke also runs the town's swimming pool, which was almost unscathed.

"There seems to be an extra crack in the toilet building," she said.

"A [magnitude] 5.2 could have brought buildings down, we were very lucky." 

 

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The township of Eidsvold was at the epicentre of the quake that would shake homes from the Sunshine Coast to Rockhampton.

The next closest towns to the epicentre are Mundubbera and Gayndah.

So far there have been no reports of serious earthquake damage in the area.

Ms O'Rourke said Eidsvold was a small community that bands together.

"25km is not far," she said.

"Someone would have been right on top of it."
 

Gayndah residents Max and Kay Wharton felt this morning's earthquake at 2am.

Mrs Wharton said the "scary" experience was similar to one her father had in the 1930s. 

"There was a noise like a large branch running around the windows of our bedroom, then the house started to shake and the windows rattled," Mrs Wharton said.

"It lasted about 20 seconds, stopped and then gave a little shake for a couple of seconds.

"About 45 minutes later we had a 2.9 smaller shake (and) after-shocks are expected."

 

Gary Watson, visiting Gayndah from Childers, said the quake woke him up.

"About five minutes later, a little bit of shaker after the first one," said Mr Watson, who was born Arkansas, USA.

"I got up and got on the phone - friends out in Childers felt it out there as well.

"I've been in a few in LA - four of five major ones over the years."

 

The 5.4 magnitude earthquake's epicentre was at Eidsvold on the Fraser Coast, with potential damage caused within 16km and shudders felt within 160km.
The 5.4 magnitude earthquake's epicentre was at Eidsvold on the Fraser Coast, with potential damage caused within 16km and shudders felt within 160km. Geoscience Australia

 

 

North Burnett SES area controller David Wilson said, after contacting police and emergency services, there had been no reports of damage in Gayndah or Eidsvold.

Ergon Energy media advisor Rob Rehbein said 575 Eidsvold residents lost power at 1.57am, with 1750 power outages reported at Monto.

Power was restored in these areas by 4am.

A further 6,000 experienced power loss in the Wallaville - Mt Perry district with power restored by 5am.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EIDSVOLD:

  • Eidsvold is situated 120 km west of Bundaberg on the Burnett Highway.
     
  • The town is 430 km north of Brisbane and halfway between Brisbane and Rockhampton.
     
  • Population of approximately 500 people.
     
  • Eidsvold has a 40% indigenous population.
     
  • There is a P to 12 public school with 89 students.
     
  • 2 officer police station, 14 bed public hospital, ambulance service and rural fire station.
     
  • Eidsvold was named after Eidsvoll is Norway by early settlers, the Archer Brothers who established Eidsvold Station in 1848.
     
  • Eidsvold was proclaimed a town in 1890 and the post office opened in 1887.
     
  • R M Williams lived and raised his family at Rocky Bar Station in Eidsvold.
     
  • The RM Williams Bush Leaning Centre was established in Eidsvold in 2009.  

 

 

EARLIER:

AN EARTHQUAKE has shaken regional Queensland, rattling windows from Rockhampton to Brisbane after the 5.2 magnitude quake struck near Eidsvold, inland of the Fraser Coast.

Geoscience Australia has reported the quake hit at 1.57am at a depth of 17km, with first estimates suggesting the shuddering would be felt by those within 160km.

That has now been extended to "250km-plus" as people report their own experiences.

The quake is predicted to have been at its most powerful within 16km of the epicentre.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre has confirmed there is no tsunami threat to the coastline or islands from the quake.

In its national bulletin today, it wrote:

"Based on the magnitude and location of this earthquake, the JATWC has assessed that there is NO TSUNAMI THREAT TO THE AUSTRALIAN MAINLAND, ISLANDS OR TERRITORIES from this earthquake."

The quake was strong enough to wake much of the state, with reports of shaking coming in from Toowoomba, Caboolture, Yeppoon and parts of the Sunshine Coast.

The initial shockwave was followed by four more shocks in the first hour.

The most powerful of these had a magnitude of 2.9.

Did you feel the earthquake? Let us know. Email us with your account.


GA senior seismologist Jonathan Bathgate said Queensland was lucky that the quake struck in such a rural area.

"[The quake] certainly has the potential to damage buildings close to the epicentre," he said.

"We're fortunate that it's not near a major town centre or even a smaller town centre.

"The largest nearby town is 25km away, it's Eidsvold.

"There will be residences within that damage radius.

"I can't say categorically there hasn't been any damage."

Mr Bathgate said there has been reports of people in Bundaberg and Fraser Coast being woken by the seismic jolt, their "beds moving and rocking".

"That's as far down as the Sunshine Coast as well.

"It has woken people up over a great distance."

Queenslanders are being told to expect more aftershocks, although these will become increasingly weak.

Mr Bathgate said there was no way of knowing how long these post-quake shudders would last.

The Eidsvold-Gayndah region has a long history of shallow earthquakes, dating back to 1883 and 1935 when quakes with a magnitude between five and six struck the area.

The most recent quake was in 2004 when a magnitude 4.4 hit the region.

 

Queenslanders have already taken to Facebook to share their stories:

Jennifer Cantrill-Ryall lives in Clinton, near Gladstone. She said the tremors woke her family up and shook the whole house.

Lucy Dwyer said: "Yep we felt a slight tremor at 1.58am here in Boyne Island (Riverstone Rise). Was half asleep when it started but woke me up, now cant sleep. I more heard it than felt it."

Kaylena Hickton posted: "I'm in Riverstone and felt it, shaking my bed and windows rattling and a weird noise and then dogs barking! Was so weird... Hardest feeling to describe:."

Mel Smith said: "Yes near the hospital... Woke up sat on lounge, it started to move and shake, felt the vibration in the floor and its concrete..."

Arlene Croome said: "Yes, felt it in Miriam vale. Was a frightening experience. Walls vibrating and my little budgie was flapping about (fell of his perch)."

 

 

Topics:  earthquake, editors picks, eidsvold, gayndah, queensland



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