ONE of the biggest earthquakes in Australia’s recent history has rocked the Northern Territory early this morning.
The magnitude 6.1 quake struck at 3.44am ACST about 125km west of Uluru and 450km southwest of Alice Springs, according to Geoscience Australia.
The US Geological Survey had earlier recorded the quake at 5.9.
“Australia in recorded history hasn’t had that many earthquakes of magnitude 6 and above,” Geoscience Australia senior seismologist Jonathan Bathgate told AAP.
In 1997 a magnitude-6.2 earthquake struck off the West Australian coast and in 1988 Australia’s largest earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.6, was recorded at Tennant Creek.
Mr Bathgate said Saturday’s earthquake had mainly been felt by people in tourist areas surrounding Uluru, but one report had been received far away at Coober Pedy.
“It certainly is a sparsely populated area and that’s probably a very lucky aspect,” he said.
The earthquake did not trigger a tsunami threat to Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed.
NT police said there has been no reports of damage or injury.
“It occurred in the middle of the desert and as far as we can tell it was far from any community and there have been no reports of injuries or damage,” NT Police duty superintendent Angela Stringer told the ABC.
“From a geological perspective, it’s pretty spectacular but we don’t see it as anything more than that at this time.”
Paul Lennen, who lives at Uluru, told Fairfax his apartment shook for about 15 seconds when the quake struck.
“It woke me from my sleep, (I) really felt the apartment moving then it slowly tapered off,” he said.
“I could also hear it. (I) wasn’t sure what the noise was, sounded like a plane.”