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Port Hedland, WA: Miners shaken awake by 5.3 magnitude earthquake

Miners in a West Australian town have been shaken awake by a 5.3 magnitude earthquake prompting fears an explosion had caused the disruption. 

The quake struck 125km southeast of Port Hedland, the second largest town in the Pilbara region at around 9:00pm on Saturday. 

Residents in Port Hedland, Karratha, Newman and Tom Price have recalled feeling the ground ‘rumbling’ for 20 seconds to one minute. 

The giant quake struck 125km southeast of Port Hedland, the second largest town in the Pilbara region at around 9:00pm on Saturday (pictured, a highway near Port Hedland)

The giant quake struck 125km southeast of Port Hedland, the second largest town in the Pilbara region at around 9:00pm on Saturday (pictured, a highway near Port Hedland)

Miners in a West Australian town have been shaken awake by a huge 5.3 magnitude earthquake (pictured, a worker at an iron ore mine in the Pilbara region)

Miners in a West Australian town have been shaken awake by a huge 5.3 magnitude earthquake (pictured, a worker at an iron ore mine in the Pilbara region)

‘A shallow magnitude 5.4 earthquake was reported in the evening near Marble Bar, East Pilbara, Western Australia,’ Volcano Discovery reported.   

The website said the tremor hit 17km away from the Marble Bar at a ‘shallow depth’ of around 10km. 

‘Shallow earthquakes are felt more strongly than deeper ones as they are closer to the surface,’ the website explained. 

‘It might have caused light to moderate damage.’ 

It was reported moderate shaking ‘probably occurred’ in Marble Bar while ‘weak shaking’ might have been felt in Nullagine around 78km from the epicentre.

Residents were also rattled by several aftershocks, of magnitude 2.6, 3.1 and 3.2, in the two hours following the initial quake.  

Linda Howard, who lives in the Pilbara, confirmed the earthquake on her Twitter account, saying it was ‘felt in Port Hedland, Karratha, Newman and Tom Price… and every mine site in between’. 

Residents were also rattled by several aftershocks, of magnitude 2.6, 3.1 and 3.2, in the two hours after the initial quake (pictured, shipping berths in Port Hedland)

Residents were also rattled by several aftershocks, of magnitude 2.6, 3.1 and 3.2, in the two hours after the initial quake (pictured, shipping berths in Port Hedland)

Volcano Discovery reported the quake hit about 17km away from the Marble Bar in East Pilbara at a 'shallow depth' of around 10km

Volcano Discovery reported the quake hit about 17km away from the Marble Bar in East Pilbara at a ‘shallow depth’ of around 10km 

Residents in Port Hedland, Karratha, Newman and Tom Price have recalled feeling the ground 'rumbling' for up to 20 seconds (pictured, excavators move iron ore in Port Hedland)

Residents in Port Hedland, Karratha, Newman and Tom Price have recalled feeling the ground ‘rumbling’ for up to 20 seconds (pictured, excavators move iron ore in Port Hedland)

Newman resident Kimba Barry said she initially thought the rumbling was coming from one of the nearby mine sites. 

‘We thought it might have been something at the mine but then it went on for way too long,’ she told the West Australian. 

‘The rumbling got stronger and the windows were rattling like crazy.’ 

The Hedland SES Unit was yet to receive any calls for help 30 minutes after the quake hit, with no reports of damage as of yet. 

Western Power has not reported any power outages in the affected areas. 

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre has reassured residents there is no risk of a tsunami to the mainland or surrounding territories.  

Newman resident Kimba Barry said she initially thought the rumbling was coming from one of the nearby mine sites (pictured, a gas plant in Karratha)

Newman resident Kimba Barry said she initially thought the rumbling was coming from one of the nearby mine sites (pictured, a gas plant in Karratha) 

The Hedland SES Unit was yet to receive any calls for help 30 minutes after the quake hit, with no reports of damage as of yet (pictured, mine operations in Port Hedland)

The Hedland SES Unit was yet to receive any calls for help 30 minutes after the quake hit, with no reports of damage as of yet (pictured, mine operations in Port Hedland)

Mining, construction and exports dominate the Pilbara region’s economy with its iron ore and liquefied natural gas industries valued at over $70billion. 

It comes after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake rocked Melbourne and demolished part of a Betty’s Burgers restaurant on the city’s famous Chapel Street in September. 

The quake hit Mansfield, around 180km northeast of Melbourne, and is the strongest recorded in Victoria’s history. 

Residents living as far away as Sydney, South Australia and Tasmania felt the tremors as well as several aftershocks in the following weeks.    

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