Gippsland shakes

TUESDAY night’s earthquake did not create major havoc in the district but the community’s response initially froze social media sites and resulted in phone lines dropping out.

The Gippsland Times’ Facebook page was overwhelmed with hits in the minutes immediately following the magnitude 5.2 earthquake which struck south-west of Moe at a depth of 10km.

It was reportedly the largest magnitude earthquake felt in Gippsland for decades.

The Gippsland Times’ webpage had initial reports posted just after the 8.53pm.

The quake sent tremors which were felt by shocked residents at towns including Seaspray, Yarram, Longford, Heyfield, Omeo and Sale, some running out of their homes fearing collapse.

Reports of a loud rumbling sound followed by rooms swaying as if the earth had become fluid were posted from Yarram to, while one Facebook respondent commented from Seaspray that his house was set on high stumps, so there was a lot of swaying.

“Managed to catch my laptop before it was rocked off its table,” he commented.

A caller to ABC radio said they were leaving Golden Beach for fear of a tsunami just after 9pm, and while no tsunami alert was broadcast, a number of Golden Beach Facebook respondents said they feared they might have “gone surfing”.

Workers on Bass Strait platforms, including Marlin A, reported the tremor could be felt on the million tonne structures, and workers at the Longford Gas Plant also reported feeling the quake.

Incredibly, a number of Maffra residents said they felt nothing at all.

Supermarkets near the epicentre reported stock damage, with bottles crashing from shelves, while a number of homes near Moe suffered cracking to walls and crockery damage.

The town’s swimming pool has also been damaged and the library closed while authorities assess and repair damage.

Morwell’s new NQR store in George St reported significant damage to shelves and stock.

The earthquake was felt in metropolitan Melbourne and across much of Victoria.

The Victorian State Emergency Service received more than 40 requests for assistance relating to the earthquake, but advised damage was limited.

However the SES advised people in affected areas still needed to ensure their properties were safe.

Southern Rural Water also urged landowners to check their farm dams.

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.