Geoscience Australia says the earthquake affecting central Victoria this morning was centred about two kilometres north-east of the town of Maldon, near Mount Tarrengower.
GA seismologist Trevor Allen said the earthquake, which was upgraded to 3.0ML at midday on Thursday, can't be precisely located and could have originated a few kilometres in any direction from where it was reported.
He says people will feel the earthquake differently according to the direction of the rupture as well as how far they are from it.
"A magnitude 3 earthquake is still what we would consider to be a relatively small earthquake," Mr Allen said.
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"However, quakes of this magnitude can be widely felt, up to about 30 or 40 kilometres from the earthquake epicentre. People will commonly feel the earthquake as shaking, or the rattling of cutlery and crockery on shelves or rattling windows, or it might seem like a large truck driving past."
Mr Allen says the Bendigo region has a moderate history of seismic activity.
"It's an area that we consider to have moderate rates of earthquakes," he says.
"In the last 20 years, Geoscience Australia has located 27 earthquakes within 100 kilometres of the epicentre of today's earthquake. So that's a little over one earthquake per year. Of those earthquakes, eight have had a magnitude equivalent to or larger than today's event.
"There are certainly other parts of the country that have higher earthquake rates, particularly in places like the Latrobe Valley in in Victoria; the Flinders Ranges area in South Australia; and what we know as the South-west Seismic Zone in Western Australia, effectively the wheatbelt area, where there have been numerous large earthquakes that have actually ruptured the Earth's surface.
"So relative to those areas around Bendigo, I would consider the area to have moderate rates of earthquakes."
Earthquakes are caused by the shifting of tectonic plates, and Mr Allen says most of the action takes place near the edges of those plates.
"The earth is made up of a series of brittle plates that are constantly moving all over the earth, and they're moving at different rates in different directions relative to each other," Mr Allen said.
"Now, most of the earthquakes occur on the edge of these plate boundaries, where the plates are just laying up against each other. However, the movement of these plates, the pushing and pulling, puts stresses and strains on the rocks inside tectonic plates, which is an area where Australia sits.
"And so over much longer periods of time, the stresses can build up. And if those stresses become great enough, they will effectively break the rocks beneath the earth along zones of weakness that we know as faultlines."
Mr Allen said anyone wanting to report earthquake activity could do so through the Geoscience Australia website via a FELT report.
"We have an online self-report system, where people can log on, and fill out a questionnaire to tell us about themselves and their experience," he said.
"We actually use this information quite extensively to get a better idea of how the ground shaking propagates through the Earth's crust. It also provides very valuable information for first responders and emergency services, if it is a significant event.
"For this particular earthquake we have already received over 90 self reports. Most of them are coming from the Maldon and Castlemaine area, and there's also quite a few coming in from Bendigo. But we're also seeing some FELT reports as far west as Maryborough.
Geoscience Australia has updated its reading of the tremor.
The strength of the quake is now put at 3.0 magnitude.
The depth is shallower than initially reported, and now said to have taken place two kilometres below ground.
The State Emergency Service said it had received no initial reports of damage from this morning's tremor.
"Over 47 'felt reports' have been received, thankfully no reports of any damage or requiring SES assistance at this point," the service said on social media.
People across the region have said they felt the ground and buildings shake.
Officials have confirmed an earth tremor shook central Victoria on Thursday morning.
The 2.9 magnitude tremor was centred on Maldon, Geoscience Australia said, at a depth of seven kilometres.
I felt the house n couch shake move through like a wave right to left, told a few ppl they thought I was making it up. What’s weird was just as the vic gov press conference took place re further restrictions.— Shann Lions (@shannlions) May 27, 2021
People across the region have reported feeling the ground and buildings shake just before 11am.
More to come
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