Strong and shallow M6.1 earthquake hits Northern Territory, Australia

Strong and shallow M6.1 earthquake hits Northern Territory, Australia

A strong and shallow earthquake registered by Geoscience Australia as Mwp6.1 hit Central Ranges, Northern Territory, Australia at 18:14 UTC on May 20, 2016. The agency is reporting a depth of 9 km (5.6 miles). USGS is reporting M5.9 at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSC is reporting Mw6.0 at a depth of 10 km.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was located 329 km (204.4 mi) E of Warburton, 460 km (285.8 mi) WSW of Alice Springs, 1001 km (622 mi) ENE of Kalgoorlie, 1091 km (677.9 mi) NW of Port Augusta West, and 1341 km (833.3 mi) NW of Adelaide, Australia.

There are just a few people living within 100 km (62 miles).

Earthquakes of this strength are very rare for Australia.

USGS issued a green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage. 

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are resistant to earthquake shaking, though some vulnerable structures exist.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

*Estimated exposure only includes population within map area (k = x1,000)

Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale

Only 11 M6+ earthquakes, including today's M6.1, were recorded by Geoscience Australia for the entire country since 1902, according to 2016 revised data.

The following table represents Australia's largest recorded earthquakes* as presented before and after the 2016 revision.

* The earthquakes listed above have epicenters on the Australian mainland or adjacent to the Australian coast.

More information about these historical events can be viewed through the earthquake storymap.

Featured image credit: USGS

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