Meteor and earthquake strike Queensland in one night

27th September 2016 6:18 AM

QUEENSLANDERS have been left wondering "what's next" after the state was hit by an incredible meteor strike, followed by an offshore earthquake.

And it's only Tuesday.

The meteor that lit up the skies of Gladstone and was spotted across Central Queensland - including as far south as the Sunshine Coast - may be the largest to have hit the state in years.

The "bright orange light" of the space junk igniting the sky was seen across Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Gladstone, and south to Hervey Bay and Maroochydore.

Some assumed it was "a flare" or a "power surge" as the night became day for a moment.


Renowned Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell quickly nixed the idea the bright light, followed by the enormous "boom" was a China's Heavenly Place satellite, which is also earthbound.

It was far more likely to be a meteor.

"This sounds like a big (meteor), first in several years that has been that big," he told the Gladstone Observer.

"It's not the Chinese spacelab, that won't re-enter for another year."

"It's not a comet, or Queensland wouldn't exist anymore (and we'd have seen it coming for days).

The boom shocked Gladstone, with up to 20 people reporting the noise to police.

 

 

Geoscience Australia confirmed it was not an earthquake.

That came next.

At 10.15pm, a magnitude 3.8 earthquake struck off Airlie Beach.

Across the Whitsundays, and through the suburbs of Mackay, Queenslanders were given a gentle shake.

In Cannonvale, outside of Airlie, Jolanda Harrison said it felt like "a big truck passed".

No tsunami threat was issued.