Tsunami warn­ing af­ter 7.8-mag­ni­tude quake in NZ

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A POW­ER­FUL 7.8 mag­ni­tude earth­quake rocked New Zealand early this morn­ing lo­cal time, the US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey said, prompt­ing a tsunami warn­ing and knock­ing out power and phone ser­vices in many parts of the coun­try.

The shal­low tremor hit some 90 kilo­me­tres (57 miles) north of the South Is­land city of Christchurch which was dev­as­tated five years ago by a 6.3 tremor which killed 185 peo­ple in one of New Zealand’s dead­li­est dis­as­ters.

Yes­ter­day’s quake, ini­tially put at 7.4 but later up­graded, struck at 12:02am Mon­day (11:02am GMT yes­ter­day). It was only 10km deep and felt through­out most of the coun­try.

The main tremor was fol­lowed by a series of strong af­ter­shocks and there were re­ports of dam­aged build­ings in the small ru­ral town­ship of Che­viot near the epi­cen­tre.

“It was mas­sive and re­ally long,” Tam­sin Eden­sor, a mother of two in Christchurch, told AFP, de­scrib­ing the pow­er­ful quake as the big­gest since the deadly 2011 tremor.

“We were asleep and wo­ken to the house shak­ing, it kept go­ing and go­ing and felt like it was go­ing to build up.”

In a brief mes­sage the Prime Min­is­ter John Key tweeted, “I hope ev­ery­one is safe af­ter the earth­quake tonight.”

The am­bu­lance ser­vice said it did not re­ceive any re­ports of quake-re­lated in­juries.

How­ever, the na­tional civil de­fence or­gan­i­sa­tion, which is in charge of New Zealand’s emer­gency man­age­ment said a tsunami was pos­si­ble.

“The first wave ac­tiv­ity may not be the most sig­nif­i­cant,” it said in a bul­letin, adding tsunami ac­tiv­ity would con­tinue for sev­eral hours.

Anna Kaiser, a seis­mol­o­gist with the GNS Science, the govern­ment’s earth­quake mon­i­tor­ing ser­vice, said the quakes were close to the coast.

“They’ve been quite large. We’ve also seen a sig­nal on the tide gauge at Kaik­oura which is up to 1 me­tre [3 feet] so it’s rea­son­ably sig­nif­i­cant, so peo­ple should take this se­ri­ously.”

How­ever, the Pa­cific Tsunami Warn­ing Cen­ter said that based on avail­able data “a destruc­tive Paci­ficwide tsunami is not ex­pected”.

In Septem­ber, a strong 7.1-mag­ni­tude earth­quake struck the east coast of New Zealand, gen­er­at­ing a small tsunami, but no sig­nif­i­cant dam­age or in­juries were re­ported.

New Zealand is on the boundary of the Aus­tralian and Pa­cific tec­tonic plates, which form part of the so­called “Ring of Fire”, and ex­pe­ri­ences up to 15,000 tremors a year. –

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