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Powerful earthquake jolts New Zealand

6.4 magnitude quake shakes South Island

January 5, 2015

Canterbury in New Zealand has been rocked by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake and several aftershocks. The quakes are said to be the strongest since 2011, when a magnitude 6.3 killed 185 in the country’s second-largest city, Christchurch.

The strongest tremor hit at 6:48am and measured 6.4 in magnitude. It was centered 35km north of Methven and was 10km deep. That was swiftly followed by more than 20 aftershocks- the largest measuring 4.2 in magnitude, which hit at 5:59am, 30km south west of Arthur’s Pass. Twelve aftershocks were stronger than magnitude 3.

GeoNet is New Zealand’s official source of geological hazards. John Ristau, duty seismologist for GeoNet, said the aftershocks would continue with the potential for larger quakes.

“We’ve already had a few above magnitude 4, and it wouldn’t be surprising for an earthquake of this size to have an aftershock above magnitude 5 at some point,” he said.

Emergency services have reported no damage from the tremors.


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