Magnitude 4 earthquake hits WA

24 March 2003

A moderate earthquake occurred tonight in Meckering, Western Australia and has been felt widely by residents as far as Northam, York and Cunderdin.

At 11.50 UT (19.50 Local Time) an earthquake of magnitude 4 occurred approximately 120km east of Perth. The event was relatively shallow and was felt at a distance of 50km from the epicentre.

Earthquakes of magnitude 4 or more are fairly common in Western Australia, with one occurring every five years on average in the Meckering region. The last event of this magnitude in Meckering occurred 1996.

"No major structural damage is expected to be sustained due to an earthquake of this size, however I'm sure it startled many local residents", says Dr Mark Leonard, seismologist at Geoscience Australia.

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake occurred in Meckering in 1968, causing extensive damage to buildings and felt over most of southern WA. Since that time, earthquakes in the region have become progressively less common.

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