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A small earthquake that resembled the sound of a large truck “rumbling past the front door” has rattled parts of Melbourne’s south-east.
The magnitude-2.5 earthquake was reported at 11.15am on Tuesday near Ferntree Gully, 30 kilometres south-east of the Melbourne CBD, according to Geoscience Australia.
The federal geoscience body said the tremor was felt by Melburnians as far west of the epicentre as Camberwell, and as far south as Narre Warren.
Adam Pascale, the chief scientist at the Seismology Research Centre in Richmond, which measured the earthquake at 2.3 magnitude, said it was unlikely a tremor the size of Tuesday morning’s would cause damage.
“Some people reported hearing the earthquake as well as feeling it,” he said.
“Others thought it was a truck rumbling past their front door, or they heard a very loud bang. It really depends on where you are when it comes to how you experience an earthquake.
“You wouldn’t expect damage at this size and depth [of earthquake], once you start to approach a magnitude-4, you might experience some.”
There were 140 reports from Victorians who felt the earthquake as of 1pm on Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for Healesville Sanctuary confirmed there had been “no reports of any disturbance to animals or humans” after the tremor, while the earthquake wasn’t felt by staff working at the Puffing Billy Railway.
Jonathan Griffin, a senior seismologist at Geoscience Australia, said the majority of reports were received from Croydon and Ferntree Gully. Listeners to 3AW said the earthquake was also felt in places like Sunshine, in the city’s west.
Compared to the magnitude-5.9 earthquake that was felt across south-east Australia and caused the partial collapse of buildings on Chapel Street in September 2021, Tuesday’s tremor was far shallower, Griffin said.
He noted that whether a person feels a tremor or not can also be explained by the type of ground they’re on, and what activity they’re doing at the time.
“While the magnitude and distance you are from it makes a difference, it can also depend on the type of ground the shaking propagates through. If you’re on soft sediment near a river bed … then that can amplify the ground shaking,” he said.
“Also, if you’re out for a run, you might not have felt it at all. But if you’re home sitting on the couch and watching television, you might notice it.”
Pascale noted it wasn’t surprising to see earthquake activity near the Dandenong Ranges, as it was a particularly hilly and mountainous part of Melbourne, right on the tip of the Great Dividing Range.
He said his organisation recorded about 30 to 40 earthquakes on average per week, with one or two in the metropolitan areas, but these were usually too small to be felt.
“Where you’re seeing hills and mountains in that region, they’ve been formed by millions of years by earthquake activity, so this is just one small earthquake in a series of thousands,” Pascale said.
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