The West

4.7 quake strikes Coolgardie
4.7 quake strikes Coolgardie

A 4.6 magnitude earthquake has been reported in Coolgardie this morning.

Geoscience Australia reports that the quake, which struck about 8am, had a depth of 15km and could have been felt 125km away.

The quake, which struck north of Coolgardie and west of Kalgoorlie, was the second largest in the historic gold mining town's history, after a magnitude five shake in 2010.

Ken Smith, of the Grand Hotel in Boulder, said he was in bed when it hit, and it “shook the s*** out of me”.

“It's in Kalgoorlie, but we felt the shocks in Boulder,” he told Fairfax radio.

“It was only a few seconds but that is all it takes.

“You could just feel the rumble keep running through.”

It is not clear whether there is any damage but Geoscience Australia reports a quake of such magnitude could have caused damage up to 10km away.

Mr Smith said there appeared to be no damage at the hotel, “but there would have to be some in Kalgoorlie”.
“I thought, 'Hello, we are in for another one',” he said.

The earthquake was initially recorded as magnitude 4.7.

A Shire of Coolgardie spokeswoman said information was still being gathered but there were no reports of damage in the shire.

Shire President Mal Cullen, who was about 30km from the epicentre when the quake struck, said he felt a “rumble” at about 8pm and knew immediately that it was an earthquake.

“It was just a bit of a vibration, like a big truck going along the road,” he said.

Several mine sites are near where the quake struck.

Eagle Roadhouse staff member Bryce Parks said he felt “shaking” in the building this morning.

“I was writing some prices and the sign I was writing on started moving,” he said.

“I just didn’t think anything of it, I thought machines must have been starting or something.”

Mr Parks said there had been no damage to the Coolgardie building. It had been the first time he had heard of quakes in the area.

At the Kanowna Belle Gold Mine, north of Kalgoolie, a spokesman said there had been no interruptions to operations.

Geoscience Australia seismologist Eddie Leask said it was the equal second largest earthquake recorded in the area, behind a magnitude five that struck close to Kalgoorlie in April 2010 and tying with another 4.6 centred further away to the town's east in April 1977.

Mr Leask said the Dederal government agency had received reports of people feeling it 100km away.

More than 50 reports of people being shaken the quake had lobbed into its website by 9am.

Others had observed ripples in water and cracks in plaster, he said.

And a string of phase arrivals, or seismic waves associated with the earthquake, were recorded in areas including Kambalda, some 100km away, Mundaring in Perth's Hills region, some 500km from the epicentre, and Forrest, 657km away.

“A magnitude four does travel a long way,” Mr Leask said.

“The seismometers are very sensitive: they're picking up thousands of a centimetre movements. That's why we're able to locate earthquakes and get good signals over large distances.”

The West Australian

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