Two earthquakes strike Lake Mackay, Northern Territory

12 February 2004

Two earthquakes occurred last night in the Northern Territory near Lake Mackay, approximately 400km northwest of Uluru. The first was a magnitude 5.0 earthquake which occurred at 6:48pm local time (09:18 UT), followed by a magnitude 5.1 at 7:00pm (09:30 UT).

"The preliminary location of the earthquakes is near a known fault in the area, called the Waite Creek Fault. However there may be other faults in the area that we don't know about, as the rocks are under a layer of sand", said Geoscience Australia seismologist, Dr Cvetan Sinadinovski.

"According to Geoscience Australia records, there have been around 30 earthquakes greater than magnitude 3.0 in the region over the past 30 years, but the magnitude 5.1 that occurred last night, is the largest one on record in the area."

Shallow earthquakes of this size would be expected to be felt up to 150km away, and any damage would be limited to within around 20km.

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