5.9-mag­ni­tude earth­quake rocks New Zealand

The China Post - - SPORTS -

A strong 5.9-mag­ni­tude earth­quake rat­tled New Zealand on Fri­day, seis­mol­o­gists said, pan­ick­ing shop­pers and res­i­dents but caus­ing no ma­jor dam­age.

The quake hit at 3:36 p.m. (0336 GMT) with its epi­cen­ter about 66 kilo­me­ters (41 miles) from the South Is­land town of Kaik­oura at a depth of 55 kilo­me­ters, the U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey said.

The lo­cal GeoNet mon­i­tor­ing ser­vice mea­sured the quake at 6.2 and said it was felt across the en­tire coun­try, but was un­likely to cause dam­age be­cause it was so deep.

“I am ad­vised that MCDEM (emer­gency man­age­ment) hasn’t re­ceived any re­ports of ma­jor in­juries or dam­age,” Civil De­fense Min­is­ter Nikki Kaye said.

How­ever, there were wide­spread out­ages on land­line and mo­bile net­works, while some rail ser­vices were briefly suspended as tracks were in­spected for dam­age.

Kaik­oura Dis­trict Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Stu­art Grant told TVNZ the quake felt like two tremors in quick suc­ces­sion, de­scrib­ing the sec­ond as a “big jolt.”

He said the coun­cil build­ing was evac­u­ated as a pre­cau­tion but ap­peared un­dam­aged.

The manager of Kaik­oura’s Mitre 10 hard­ware store James Hills said the quake dis­lodged items from shelves and sent pan­icked cus­tomers flee­ing from the build­ing.

“(There was a) fair bit of panic ... ev­ery­thing was fall­ing off the shelves,” he said.

“There’s been a lit­tle bit of dam­age, cer­tainly not heaps, but yeah, there’s a lot of stuff fallen over.”

Lo­cal res­i­dent Caleb McNabb said on Twit­ter that build­ings “swayed” in Kaik­oura’s main street, while Welling­ton’s Mandy Simp­son tweeted “that was a long, hor­rid shake.”

The quake struck in the same re­gion as a 4.7 tremor on Thurs­day that jolted of­fice build­ings in Welling­ton.

There were also two 6.5-mag­ni­tude quakes around the same area in July and Au­gust 2013. GeoNet data manager Kevin Fe­naughty said it was un­clear if there was a di­rect re­la­tion­ship.

“We can­not be cer­tain that it hasn’t been trig­gered by stresses from all those quakes over time,” he said.

A dev­as­tat­ing tremor hit the South Is­land city of Christchurch in Fe­bru­ary 2011, killing 185 peo­ple.

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

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