An earthquake struck off the coast of the Whitsundays on Friday. It was 41.2km from Dingo Beach. The yellow dot shows where the earthquake was detected.
An earthquake struck off the coast of the Whitsundays on Friday. It was 41.2km from Dingo Beach. The yellow dot shows where the earthquake was detected. Geoscience Australia

REVEALED: 85 earthquakes rock the Whitsundays

AN EARTHQUAKE off the Whitsundays on Friday afternoon was the 85th recorded earthquake in the area in less than three years.

Geoscience Australia recorded a 3.9 magnitude earthquake 41.2km off the coast of Dingo Beach at 4.16pm on Friday.

The earthquake, which occurred at a depth of 10km, was only 27km from Hayman Island, 49km off the coast of Airlie Beach and 60km from Bowen.

Geoscience Australia had 28 registered reports from people who felt the earthquake in Bowen, Hayman Island, Airlie Beach and as far away as Yalboroo.

Airlie Beach and its outskirts had the highest incidence of reports, as 19 people informed Geoscience Australia they felt the earth shake.

Geoscience Australia senior duty seismologist Dan Jaqsa said Friday's earthquake was not unusual for the area.

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake which occurred in the same area on August 18, 2016, has been responsible for a further 84 earthquakes in the area, Mr Jaqsa said.

"That (the August 2016 earthquake) has been a trigger for what has been going on since," he said.

Since then, the area has seen one magnitude 4 earthquake and 26 in the magnitude 3-4 range.

Mr Jaqsa said the August 2016 earthquake was a "fairly large" one by Australian standards and had disrupted the crust of the tectonic plate in that area.

All of the earthquakes since then had been a "reorganisation of the fault" line since then, with the crust realigning itself, Mr Jaqsa said.

"These aren't considered aftershocks, but they are definitely related," he said.