Australia: First Time Unlucky

First Time Unlucky

For 15 long seconds the ground shook. Buildings crumbled, cars were flattened, at least ten people were killed, and some 120 were injured. The first major earthquake to hit an Australian city struck the New South Wales port of Newcastle, 100 miles north of Sydney, at 10:28 a.m. last Thursday. Said one resident: "It felt like there was someone under my bedroom floor who lifted the house."

Australians were caught off guard by the quake's intensity, though it measured only 5.5 on the Richter scale, vs. 7.1 for the tremor that rocked San Francisco Oct. 17. The principal damage occurred in...

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