New Zealand is hit by 7.3-magnitude earthquake

  • 10 months   ago
New Zealand is hit by 7.3-magnitude earthquake

New Zealand is hit by TWO powerful earthquakes registering more than 7.0 on the Richter scale within hours of each other – sending residents along 100 miles of coast fleeing inland after tsunami warnings

Two powerful earthquakes struck off the coast of New Zealand within hours of each other today, triggering two early-morning tsunami warnings.

A 7.3-magnitude quake was recorded at 2.27am east of the North Island, before another 7.4-magnitude tremor was recorded near the Kermadec Islands four hours later.

Residents living along a 100-mile stretch of coast were told to flee inland or seek high ground after the first quake, with local disaster officials predicting waves of more than 3ft and a continuous threat of 'unpredictable surges.'

The second earthquake struck further away from the mainland and high waters were only predicted for residents living within a 40-mile range along the coast north of Auckland.

The first quake was also much more dramatic for residents on the North Island, who described a 'very long, swaying shake' and houses making 'cracking sounds' in a tremor which some thought had lasted for as long as a minute, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.  

'Hope everyone is ok out there - especially on the east coast who would have felt the full force of that earthquake,' prime minister Jacinda Ardern posted on Instagram. 

More than 60,000 people reported feeling the quake on seismic monitor GeoNet, with a few hundred describing the shaking as 'severe' and 75 calling it 'extreme'. 

There was no tsunami threat to Wellington and other regions, but civil defence authorities told people to stay away from beaches  across New Zealand.  

The 2.30am quake, which came less than an hour after a 3.7-magnitude rumble in the same area, was measured at 110 miles from the city of Gisborne. Aftershocks were still being recorded in the area.   

Tsunami waves were possible within 180 miles of the earthquake's epicentre, the US-operated Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said. 

The Hawaii-based warning centre said in a 3am update that 'tsunami waves had been observed' following the earthquake. 

 

New Zealand's disaster agency said shortly afterwards that flooding is expected in a 100-mile coastal stretch from Cape Runaway to Tolaga Bay.   

'Tsunami activity will continue for several hours and the threat must be regarded as real until this warning is cancelled,' the emergency management agency said.  

People in the affected stretch of coast should 'MOVE IMMEDIATELY to the nearest high ground, out of tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible,' it said.

'Strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges near the shore are expected... this means a threat to beach, harbour, estuary and small boat activities.'

The evacuation advice overrides pandemic-related restrictions, it added, which were recently tightened again after a single new case of Covid-19 in the community.     

New Zealand recently marked the 10-year anniversary of 2011's Christchurch earthquake which killed 185 people and wrecked large parts of the city. 

This month also marks a decade since the Pacific earthquake that triggered the Japanese tsunami and resulting Fukushima nuclear disaster. 

 

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