The epicenter of the 7.3 magnitude quake was more than 400 miles to the north of Darwin, in Indonesia’s Banda Sea. Nearby island residents there said they barely felt it.
But the shaking knocked a shipping container off its support braces just north of Darwin and tossed items off shelves in several communities across Australia’s Northern Territory.
Some who felt it said on social media that the shaking just kept getting stronger and stronger over a 30-second period.
“It just seemed to go on and on and on, and then when it died down, it even had another violent shudder again,” one Darwin resident told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 1:53 p.m. local time at the epicenter, which was 223 miles south-southeast of Ambon, Indonesia, at a depth of 99 miles.