Western Australia shaken by largest earthquake in 50 years

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

PERTH - Western Australia’s Kalgoorlie city was on Tuesday rocked by the biggest earthquake to hit the region in 50 years, damaging several buildings and causing the Kalgoorlie gold mine to be evacuated.

A 5.0-magnitude tremor struck about 8.20a.m. local time (23.20GMT), but so far there have been no reports of injuries.

Geoscience Australia seismologist, David Jepsen, said the quake hit about 10 kilometres southwest of Kalgoorlie and was fairly shallow.

“People in Kalgoorlie would have experienced strong shaking. We would expect people up to several hundred kilometres away would have felt it,” News.com.au quoted Jepsen, as saying.

He added that aftershocks would be of much lower magnitude and should be of no concern.

Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mine spokeswoman Holly Phillips said that all employees had been evacuated from the Super Pit. We have evacuated Mt Charlotte and open pit while our geo tech team go in to assess,” Phillips said.

“It was pretty scary all round. Our roof didn’t cave in but it sustained a bit of damage. It was a significant boom. It was really loud,” she added.

Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Super Pit is the largest open pit gold mine in Australia.

The worst-hit buildings were historic structures in Boulder, a remote town which sprang up in the wake of Australia’s 1800s Gold Rush.(ANI)

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