BALLARAT shook last night as communities around Victoria experienced earth tremors shortly before 9pm.
A 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck 16 kilometres south-west of Moe around 8.50pm with residents in Ballarat Central, Mt Clear, Hepburn, Buninyong, Haddon, Ballan, Creswick, Darley and Smythesdale all reporting feeling tremors.
Geoscience Australia confirmed the quake had a depth of around 10 kilometres, with the organisation’s website crashing as people sought information on the quake.
Residents reported the tremors lasted as long as 30 seconds.
Staff at Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital said it was felt in a number of wards.
Victoria Police said there were no reports of damage across the state, while officials at Melbourne Airport conducted an emergency inspection of runways before returning to normal flight operations.
Ballarat Police said they had no reports of damage or injury but Smythesdale resident Anne Macgill said she felt the tremors in her sitting room for more than 10 seconds.
“It wasn’t really bad but my chair rocked for 10 seconds and I had a fair idea it would be an earthquake,” she said.
“At first I thought I might have been having a turn or something, but because the chair was rocking steadily back and forward I knew it was something else.”
The Bureau of Meteorology said the quake was felt in Melbourne and several other centres including Bright, Myrtleford and Wonthaggi.
Official seismic registers in the United States and Germany also recorded the event.
A 4.4 magnitude earthquake was reported across Melbourne in July 2011, with smaller shocks felt in Gippsland.
Anthony Atkin, the duty manager of the Criterion Hotel at Trafalgar, just west of Moe, said he feared for his life as the quake lasted 30 seconds.
“I thought the roof was going to fall down,” Mr Atkin said.
“Everyone in the hotel ran outside, it was like a train was coming through the hotel.
“I’ve been here for 44 years and never felt anything like it.”