An unusually powerful magnitude 5.9 earthquake shook Australia Saturday (May 21, 2016) . It occurred 460 kilometers west-southwest of Alice Springs, which is close to Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock.
It hit early morning around 4am local time and was recorded at a magnitude of 6.2 by the USGS before being downgraded to 5.9. Luckily the area is mostly dessert and is not highly populated as the closest indigenous community were well over 100 km away from the epicenter. No injuries, damages, or casualties were reported.
Although unusually large for Australia, this is not the biggest it has faced. A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit a small mining town called Tennant Creek back in 1988. The Tennant Creek quake was not always considered the largest quake in Australia. Previous to data revisions due to better technology, the Meeberrie earthquake in 1941 was considered the largest with a magnitude of 7.2. This was revised down to a 6.3 which saw it slip from first place down to fifth place in terms of magnitude.
Magnitude is not always everything. When it comes to the most deadly and most damaging earthquake in Australia that belongs to the magnitude 5.6 earthquake that hit Newcastle in New South Wales back in 1989. 13 people died and over 160 injured as it caused damage to over 35,000 homes. The total damage was estimated at a whopping $4 billion!
Had the Alice Spring earthquake occurred in a densely populated area instead of the dessert, the outcome could have been more disastrous.
Goes to show that no matter where you live, you should be prepared just in case.