In a tweet on Wednesday morning, the Victorian State Emergency Service’s (VICSES News) Twitter account said the earthquake’s epicenter had been near Mansfield in the state of Victoria.
“Please be patient as lines may be busy,” the tweet said.
Originally the Australian government had registered the earthquake at a magnitude of 6 but subsequently downgraded it slightly to 5.9. The US Geological Survey also put the quake at magnitude 5.9.
Videos on social media showed at least one building suffered some minor damage and power lines disrupted in the central business district of Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, where some people could be seen on the streets following the quake.
Melbourne residents described their shock and surprise as houses across the city began to shake, in a city which has not had an earthquake of a similar size in decades. There have been no reports of injuries so far.
The temblor was so strong it was felt as far away as Adelaide in South Australia, 800 kilometers (500 miles) away, and Sydney in New South Wales, more than 900 kilometers (600 miles) away.
“There is no tsunami threat” VICSES News said in a tweet. Geoscience Australia said there was an aftershock following the earthquake measuring about 4.0 in magnitude, less than half an hour after the initial shock.
Australia sits in the center of a tectonic plate and as a result very rarely experiences serious earthquake activity, unlike neighboring New Zealand.
Demonstrators blocked off major roads and lit flares amid clashes with police, in some of the worst violent protests seen in the city in years.
To date, Victoria has recorded a total number of 30,224 confirmed Covid cases, and more than 830 deaths.