The earth moved for me…

Breaking news, my friends…

At 2.30pm today, 18th August, north Queensland experienced a 5.7–5.8 Richter scale earthquake. My house is made of wood, and it was just vibrating for a good 10 seconds. Lamps swung, windows rattled, pictures slipped. Strangely, I didn’t feel any alarm.

Further up the coast in Bowen and Airlie Beach, they’ll have felt it even more strongly, as that’s where the epicentre was located (Lat -19.851, Long 148.664).

Preliminary assessment from Geoscience Australia put the quake at 5.8. The US Geological Survey puts it at 5.7, but I don’t think that 0.1 makes much of a difference to the overall effect!

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 2.56.06 pm

Map from © Geoscience Australia

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 2.57.04 pm

Map from © Earthquake Track

Luckily, there’s no danger of a tsunami any more at this point… We’re low-lying, at sea level, and after a significant seismic event, that’s always a possibility. The epicentre was only 52km offshore, and if it was going to happen, we’d have seen activity by now.

What we should expect are a few aftershocks…

UPDATE, 3.30pm

Since I wrote this, we’ve had 6 aftershocks ranging in intensity from 2.5 to 4 on the Richter scale:

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 5.33.05 pm

Figures from © Geoscience Australia


In the 8 hours since the quake, there have been 9 aftershocks, a 5.4 Richter quake in Papua New Guinea and a 5.3 quake in the Banda Sea near East Timor. If you go to the Geoscience Australia link given above, you’ll see the seismic story unfolding. There is a chain of events stretching from the Andaman Sea between Sri Lanka and Malaysia to just south of Tonga. This region is suddenly geologically active. Let’s hope we don’t live in too interesting times….


62 thoughts on “The earth moved for me…

  1. manicmumdays says:

    Crazy hey!! We got a little tremmor here … less than the Innisfail one 4-5yrs ago, but some places in town felt quite a bit more!! We’re 20mins up the road from them tho. We’re low lying too so very relieved there’s no tsunami! Stay safe in the aftershocks! ❤

    • katechiconi says:

      It was kind of lively, wasn’t it? The biggest one for some time, according to Geoscience Australia, but not from any great depth, which is why no tsunami. Nothing noticeable so far by way of aftershock, but there’s still time!

  2. M. L. Kappa says:

    I’ve experienced one big earthquake in Greece (we get loads of little ones…) and it was the scariest thing ever! There was a kind of low booming sound, at the time I was going up the stairs and I had to hang on to the bannister. Weirdly, the dogs kept on sleeping in their baskets…

    • katechiconi says:

      This is the biggest shake I’ve ever felt; they’re more common up here than down south where I used to live. The noise is strange, isn’t it? I hung onto the back of the chair I was standing by, and it shook the Husband awake!

  3. nanacathy2 says:

    Oh gosh. I experienced a very small one in Crete once which shook the furniture and took out the electricity. Us holiday makers were alarmed whilst the locals took no notice at all. Hope you don’t have another.

  4. having been in some around the world – I know how you feel. Glad you are alright. It can be soooo frightening – and worse!

    • katechiconi says:

      Funny thing is, it didn’t frighten me at all. First thought was, “oh, what’s this?” and then when it went on “ah, an earthquake”. There are some advantages to living in an old wooden house – it flexes!

  5. Thimberlina says:

    Gosh! Can’t imagine anything like that, glad you and yours are safe (not sure even an earthquake would wake up my hubby!).

  6. Don’t think I’d be brave enough to live where these things happen frequently! You guys sure like to rock ‘n roll…

  7. Believe it or not I was even in a 5.5 here in Arizona. It is definitely a weird feeling! Glad you are safe:)

  8. tialys says:

    Scary stuff. I get alarmed when we have a storm and the thunder is loud enough to rattle the glass in the windows so I’d be no use in an earthquake. Glad you are both safe!

  9. Grannymar says:

    So you are all shook up like a good Martini this morning Kate! Sorry but I could not resist it. I am sure it was rather scary as it happened, glad you are ok with no damage or breakages. Stay safe my friend.

  10. Sandy says:

    We had a 5 point something in England a few years ago. It was centered near us. It was the one time in our lives that we were living in a multistoried building and we swayed as well as shook. They swaying was scary!

  11. Grannymar says:

    Directly across the valley from where I live is a now disused quarry. For about the first eighteen years that I lived here, it was working full belt. The house shook several times a week quickly followed by the bang and then the sound of falling rock. Since it was the time of ‘bombs and bullets’ in Northern Ireland, it took me a couple of years to relax to “It is only the quarry!” I do have plaster cracks in all my ceilings, but no serious damage. Jack and often teased each other about the earth moving for us. It literally did… three times a week!

    • katechiconi says:

      I suppose it’s like living next to a railway line. The first few nights you think you’ll never sleep for the noise of the trains passing, and then suddenly you don’t hear it any more… The feeling of the house shaking was rather like being right next to a train passing.

  12. Glad you rolled with it so calmly!

    • katechiconi says:

      It was a strong one, but not really frightening. The house creaked and wiggled a bit, but we get a lot of small shocks regularly up here, and houses are all built to withstand Category 4 cyclones, so a bit of wiggling is nothing!

  13. ladyredspecs says:

    This answers my earlier question, must feel quite surreal

    • katechiconi says:

      It is a very strange sensation, there’s a harmonic that runs through the building, and a vibration that’s unlike anything else. You can’t mistake it for something it’s not!

  14. I have never been in an earthquake and your calmness is amazing. How often do you feel them?

  15. Oh my…Stay safe. We had one in Spain like this last summer. It was the weirdest thing and I was too busy wondering if it was really happening to panic!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’d agree; too strange to be truly frightening. There is no other sensation like it, and I was too busy thinking about what I was feeling to feel anything but interest!

  16. dayphoto says:

    OH! MY! HEAVENS! I’m so glad you are safe! I would imagine your bird family is safe also. 🙂 What a trip!


    • katechiconi says:

      Mrs Noisy sat tight and didn’t blink. I went out to check her, and they were both there, her on the nest and him with one leg tucked up, both with eyes at half mast and not at all fazed.

  17. I lived in S California for many years. I know way more than I want to about earthquakes. Not a fan. Staying calm is the key though. I like your title. It made me laugh. 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      This one was the second largest ever recorded for north Queensland. We get a lot, but usually they’re babies and you don’t feel them.

      • The last one I went through was a 6.7. Then I moved to Arizona and my daughter went to New Mexico. Her whole bedroom came down on them. Makes a believer out of you.

      • katechiconi says:

        I imagine it certainly would! We were spared that kind of damage, but the local airports were closed, the town council offices evacuated and they closed a couple of schools for a few hours.

      • It’s part of life on this planet. I’ve run into something almost everywhere I’ve lived. Tornadoes, typhoons, flooding, too much snow, excessive heat. Earthquakes are the only thing you never know when they are going to happen but they can happen anywhere. So we adjust our sails and keep on sailing. 🙂 Glad you had no serious damage. They are an eye opener though.

  18. I’d like to experience one, to see how I’d react. I grew up between two big US Air Force bases, and the sonic booms and bomb testing rattled our windows with regularity. And of course, we had hurricanes every year (run inland, come back, repeat). But an earthquake or tornado- those would be very new to me! Glad you Kept Calm and Carried On 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      I was unspeakably British about the whole thing… I know the window rattling and chimney pot shaking you speak of, I too was brought up next door to a USAF base, but mine was in the UK and we had F111s. Sounds to me as if Florida and Queensland have uncomfortably much in common weather-wise…

      • Which one? My BIL was at Lakenheath and…oh damn, what’s the other one nearby? They lived in Newmarket. I got to visit once before they got sent back to the US. They did NOT want to go! I’ve been to Lakenheath too – got to fly a multi-million dollar simulator and LOVED it!

      • katechiconi says:

        USAF Greenham Common, halfway between London and Bristol at Newbury, where they later sited the cruise missiles, painting a nice big red cross and ‘aim here’ for any potential enemy and drawing down the lunatic fringe for the Peace Camp. All gone now, it’s been converted into a business park, but the 2 mile long runway is still there…

      • Whew! Well at least no one did aim there…

      • katechiconi says:

        True, thank heavens.

  19. claire93 says:

    we lived in Tokyo for 12 months and experienced several earthquakes during that time. I agree – totally wierd feeling the swaying.

  20. EllaDee says:

    I’m pleased to hear your earthshaking news was not earth shattering. I was a couple of hundred k’s from the Newcastle earthquake in the 80’s so I can well imagine what you felt.

  21. Jule says:

    I never experienced an earthquake, the chance of having one around here is merely a theoretical one. I’m glad Chiconia was left unharmed. 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      So am I 🙂
      The house is built to cope with that sort of thing, like all the houses round here: flood, cyclone and earthquake. A most desirable piece of real estate!

  22. Lynda says:

    I know exactly how that felt! Having lived most of my life in Southern California. You sound remarkably calm for someone unused to these events. I have to say that now I live in Tornado Alley here in the deep south, that much prefer the earth moving to watching a funnel cloud hellbent on hoovering everything in its path! Glad to hear it wasn’t any stronger, Kate. 🙂

  23. Oh dear ! I didn’t hear about it in the news. I hope there were no fatalities !

  24. rutigt says:

    DH and I were discussing the worlds condition just some days ago. We agreed that we are thankful living in Sweden with just the rainy summer and some stupid politicians to grumble over 🙂

  25. kymlucas says:

    So glad you’re OK, but how nerve-wracking!

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