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How the Melbourne earthquake was BIGGER than Australia’s worst, the Newcastle earthquake that killed 13 people

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How the earthquake was BIGGER than the deadliest shock in Australian history – the tragic Newcastle earthquake that killed 13 people and injured 160 others

  • Magnitude 5.7-6.0 earthquake shook Melbourne and destroyed parts of buildings
  • Chapel Street, Yarra, saw the most damage, but there were no injuries
  • Epicenter was 10km deep near Woods Point in northeast Victoria at 9:15am
  • The 1989 Newcastle earthquake killed 13 and injured 160, but was only 5.6










Victoria is lucky to have escaped catastrophe as the earthquake that shook the state on Wednesday was bigger than the deadly Newcastle earthquake that killed 13 people and injured 160 others.

Seismologist Dr. Gary Gibson told Daily Mail Australia that the 5.8 quake was not as deadly as the 5.6 quake in Newcastle in 1989, as it struck far from densely populated areas.

dr. Gibson said the earthquake in Victoria centered between Licola and the town of Woods Point, about 250km east of Chapel Street Melbourne, where the most damage was done.

He said ground buildings on Chapel Street could have cost lives if the popular cafe strip had been busy.

Photos have surfaced of a Betty’s Burgers restaurant that partially collapsed on Chapel St in inner-city Melbourne after a magnitude-5.8 earthquake on Wednesday

Debris is pictured outside the Betty's Burgers on Chapel Street after the building was damaged by Wednesday's earthquake

Debris is pictured outside the Betty’s Burgers on Chapel Street after the building was damaged by Wednesday’s earthquake

The devastating earthquake in Newcastle in 1989 killed 13 people, including nine at the Newcastle Workers' Club, pictured above

The devastating earthquake in Newcastle in 1989 killed 13 people, including nine at the Newcastle Workers’ Club, pictured above

‘The Newcastle earthquake was 12km deep, 20km from the city and the fault was heading in the right direction to direct a very strong movement towards the city,’ said Dr Gibson of the University of Melbourne.

The NSW city was also badly hit by construction on “soft sediments rather than hard rock, which enhanced the earthquake’s motion.”

“This latest earthquake was in the most remote area of ​​the eastern highlands of Victoria.”

The photo shows workers examining debris from a damaged building along Melbourne’s Chapel Street on Wednesday

The 1989 Newcastle earthquake had a magnitude of 5.6 on the Richter scale, but was so deadly because it was close to the city and the fault ran directly into the city, where buildings were built on soft sediment

The 1989 Newcastle earthquake had a magnitude of 5.6 on the Richter scale, but was so deadly because it was close to the city and the fault ran directly into the city, where buildings were built on soft sediment

The Newcastle earthquake was the deadliest in Australia

The Newcastle earthquake was the deadliest in Australia

The Melbourne earthquake was felt as far as New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.

The earthquake struck hundreds of miles northeast of Melbourne at 9:15 a.m. It was believed to be 10 km deep.

It was followed by two aftershocks measuring 4.0 and 3.1 on the Richter scale 18 and 39 minutes later – both within 10 km of the original quakes.

dr. Gibson said the quake, at 10 km depth, was “quite shallow” and caused a lot of damage at the epicenter.

Given the unexpected damage to Melbourne’s iconic Chapel Street, Mr Gibson believes it was lucky that there were no fatalities.

“Given the damage done there if people had been there at the wrong time, it could have been very serious,” he said.

It’s possible, he said, that Chapel Street was so badly damaged because buildings there, like Newcastle, are also built on soft sediment.

Dr Gibson believes there is still a very slim chance that more ‘of the same magnitude’ aftershocks could strike again.

He said it was the largest earthquake to ever hit Victoria of New South Wales and one of the largest to ever hit mainland Australia.

A building also appeared to have been damaged by the earthquake on Wattle Street in Melbourne's inner-city Prahran

A building also appeared to have been damaged by the earthquake on Wattle Street in Melbourne’s inner-city Prahran

Several larger earthquakes struck offshore in the 1880s, with a magnitude of 7.0 recorded off Flinders Island.

The largest recorded earthquake in Australia was in 1988 at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, with an estimated magnitude of 6.6, according to Geoscience Australia.

It happened in a sparsely populated area and resulted in damage to a gas pipeline.

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