An quake of magnitude 6.9 has struck the Rowley Shelf, west of the Australian beach resort of Broome, on Sunday, the US Geological Survey reported.
Australian media said the tremor was felt across a long stretch of the northwestern coast of Australia, from the West Australian capital of Perth and the mining centres of Karatha and Port Hedland to the south and as far as Darwin to the north. 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 Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii has not released a tsunami warning.
There was no immediate information about damage or casualties.
More than 200 reports came from Broome and another 251 were registered in Port Hedland.
"I just told him I think this is an quake and we were both quite shocked", Mr Wepener said. She said: "I was outside and I just saw the cars moving".
Since the initial quake, four aftershocks have been reported by Geoscience Australia registering at 4.1, 5.2, 4.0 and 3.8 magnitude on the Richter scale.
Items flew off the shelf in a store in Broome Boulevard Shopping Centre on Sunday.
The tremors were felt as far away as Indonesia, as terrified residents fled buildings.
Others said entire apartment buildings in Perth's suburbs shook for as long as three minutes during the quake. "A few things fell off the walls onto the floors", she said. The whole house was shaking and it went for ages. You could see them moving.
Deb Hannagan, from Broome, tweeted: 'We just had an quake in Broome! It makes it one of the largest earthquakes to hit Australia since records began. Never experienced anything like it before - quite amazing!'
And more aftershocks are to be expected, Phil Cummins, a geologist at Government's GeoScience Australia, warned.
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