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Strong 6.6 quake hits off northwest Australia

Strong 6.6 quake hits off northwest Australia

Geoscience Australia put the largest quake's magnitude at 6.6, making it the country's strongest natural disaster on record, even though the USGS put it slightly higher, at 6.7.

There have been reports of minor damage to buildings around Broome, but no reports of major damage.

There is no threat of a tsunami, the Australian Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin.

There are no immediate reports about casualties or damage caused by the natural disaster. The quake hit at a depth of 10km (6 miles), about 202km (126 miles) from the town of Broome in the state of Western Australia.

The quake struck about 200 kilometres off the coast, between Broome and Port Hedland at 1.39pm local time.

"As it stands for as long as today, it is the biggest-equal quake in Australia ever recorded", GeoScience Australia duty seismologist Dan Connolly told The Guardian.

As of 2pm as many of 800 people had logged having felt the quake with the Government website with more than 500 being registered on the north west coast.

A first aftershock hit western Australia at 8.26am BST (3.26pm local time), with a magnitude of 4.9.

"It started off with a shake, it was not too insane and then it developed into quite a shake", he told AAP, after experiencing his first quake.

At least four aftershocks have been reported following the natural disaster, ranging from 3.8 to 5.2 magnitude.

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Tremors were felt as far away as Esperance.

"We were sitting outside and our chairs were rocking", she told AAP.

"The trees stopped moving and the breeze stopped blowing", she said.

The Roey Hotel employee Cindy told AAP she saw cars moving in the quake. It was a bit scary.

Mr Kelly also said the first thing he did after the quake was check for tsunami warnings as his home is near the Indian Ocean.

'It just went for a few seconds'.

Gary, who works at the Mercure Hotel in Broome, added: "It started off with a shake, it was not too insane and then it developed into quite a shake".

'It was quite nerve-racking. "It was not too strong, it nearly felt like when you are in a auto and the wind is a bit strong, and then it started picking up".

Deb Hannagan, from Broome, tweeted: "We just had an natural disaster in Broome! Never experienced anything like it before - quite fantastic!"