An earthquake that struck this morning in the Banda Sea has rattled parts of Darwin but is unlikely to have caused any damage.
The magnitude 5.3 quake hit in the Banda Sea at a depth of 96 kilometres, about 600 kilometres north of Darwin.
Many people were asleep when it rattled parts of the city at 4:44am (ACST), but several people contacted ABC Radio Darwin to say they felt it.
Australia was a long way from the zone where damage was expected from the quake, according to information from Geoscience Australia.
Geoscience Australia seismologist Eddie Leask said quakes in the Banda Sea were often felt in Darwin.
“We had about 50 in that area over the last year and about 15 of those were felt in Darwin,” Mr Leask told ABC Radio Darwin.
Deep quakes more likely to be felt in Darwin
He said that the quakes that were deep were more likely to be felt in Darwin, whereas more shallow earthquakes in the area were more likely to be felt in Indonesia.
“That area of the Banda Sea is where the Indonesian plate, which is joined to the rest of Asia and Europe, is connecting with the Australian plate, so we are pushing together, causing these earthquakes,” Mr Leask said.
“What is happening is that the Australian plate is dipping underneath the Indonesian plate, and so when the earthquakes are quite deep, they are actually happening on the Australian plate, and so that allows the energy to be directed up towards Darwin and be felt more easily,” he said.