Severe earthquake wakes New Zealand


A severe earthquake rocked residents on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island Tuesday morning.

GeoNet reported the magnitude 6 earthquake struck 30km west of Arthurs Pass at 6:48am Tuesday at a depth of 5km. It was initially reported as a 6.4 earthquake in nearby Canterbury.

Dozens of aftershocks have been reported in the Arthurs Pass Area, three above a magnitude 4.

Residents as far as 900km away reported feeling the quake, from the southern tip of the South Island to the central North Island.

There are no immediate reports of serious damages or injuries, and no tsunami warnings have been issued, though media is reporting train cancellations, including the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth.

Earthquakes are fairly common to New Zealand, which sits on the Pacific fault rim called the Ring of Fire.

However, GeoNet suspects the quake was likely caused by a previously unknown fault.

GeoNet duty seismologist John Ristau told reporters that in general, many of the New Zealand earthquakes don’t occur on main faults because the country is riddled with them.

The South Island city of Christchurch in Canterbury is still recovering from a magnitude 6.3 quake that destroyed much of the city centre and killed 185 people.