Aftershocks expected from South West earthquake

An earthquake that shook South West residents’ homes on Sunday afternoon was the largest in the region in memory, according to a geology expert - with aftershocks now a possibility.

Geoscience Australia have confirmed a 5.6 magnitude earthquake occurred somewhere between Walpole and Kojonup about 12.56pm.

Residents took to social media to comment on the phenomena, with some saying their homes were shook by the tremor.

Geoscience Australia senior seismologist Phil Cummins told the Mail the earthquake was felt over a wide area from Albany to Perth.

“An earthquake that large can cause damage but I think this one is unlikely to have done so because it was in a remote area,” he said.

“There have been earthquakes this large in Western Australia before - there was one east of Norseman, magnitude 5.6, in 2016. 

“There have been large earthquakes in the Wheatbelt and up on the North West Shelf. But in this particular area, there haven’t been any earthquakes this big.

“Within a 200km radius I don’t think there has been anything greater than a five.

“In that sense, it is quite unusual.”

Mr Cummins said the community could expect aftershocks from the earthquake.

“Earthquakes are caused by a build-up of stress in the interior of the Australian plate - any stresses are due to the pressure exerted on the plate boundaries,” he said.

“In that sense it is like any other earthquake that has happened in Australia.

“As far as we know there won’t be any other large earthquakes but there are likely to be aftershocks. 

“Some of those could be large enough to be felt, but I don’t think they will be large enough to cause damage.

“I’d encourage people to use the website and enter in what they felt - that information is very valuable for us to understand the earthquake’s shake.”

Visit the Geoscience Australia website here.