EARTHQUAKES

Two strong quakes strike New Zealand, hours after Japan jolted

New Zealand sits on the ‘Ring of Fire’, an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 2:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 2:36pm

Two strong earthquakes rattled different parts of New Zealand on Tuesday but there were no initial reports of serious damage or injuries.

Tuesday’s quakes came after a powerful 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit northeastern Japan, triggering tsunamis along the coast including a one-metre wave that crashed ashore at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The first magnitude 5.6 quake struck off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island at about 1:20 p.m.

It was followed about five hours later by a magnitude 5.3 quake that struck the South Island and appeared to have been an aftershock from a powerful earthquake last week.

That quake last Monday was measured at magnitude 7.8 and killed two people after it struck just near the coastal town of Kaikoura.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre did not issue a tsunami warning for either of Tuesday’s quakes.

The epicentre of the first quake on Tuesday was about 200 kilometres northeast of the capital Wellington, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres.

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The second quake was centred 78 kilometres northeast of Christchurch and was felt in the city. It was also at a shallow depth of 4 kilometres.

An earthquake in the city five years ago killed 185 people and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings

The nation of 4.7 million people sits on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common.