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New Zealand Hit With 'Strong' 5.6 Magnitude Earthquake

by : Emily Brown on :
New Zealand Hit With 'Strong' 5.6 Magnitude Earthquake
New Zealand Hit With 'Strong' 5.6 Magnitude Earthquake (@geonet/Twitter/Alamy)

New Zealand residents have described hearing a 'massive bang' as the country was hit with a 5.6 magnitude earthquake.

The quake struck both the north and south islands just after 4.00pm local time today, February 21, with its epicentre believed to be located roughly 30km south-west of Seddon, a small town in Marlborough, on New Zealand’s South Island.

It is said to have hit at a depth of 30km, though no reports of severe damages or injuries have been reported at the time of writing.

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Government seismic monitor GeoNet NZ, which records earthquakes and reported shaking, said it had received more than 15,000 reports following the quake.

On its website, it wrote: 'A shallow M5.6 earthquake near Blenheim caused a decent shake just now, mostly felt by people in the upper South Island and lower North Island. The shaking was strong in intensity.'

More than a dozen reports, likely from those located near the epicentre, described the event as 'extreme', while more than 250 described it as 'strong'. The majority of reports dubbed it 'light' or 'weak'.

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Members of the public in Seddon described hearing the earthquake before they felt it, with residents Terry and Karen Renner telling 9News they got 'a bit of a fright' as the earthquake struck.

Karen said: 'We were outside, standing out the back and we heard a massive bang. We've got a big shed up the back and that's what really shook. We looked at the truck and it was rocking and rolling.'

Thankfully nothing had been broken, and Karen said she had not noticed any aftershocks.

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She added: 'Well we thought it couldn't have been too big. Normally if there's a big one people all come outside their houses, gather on the street, in the township. We all make sure our neighbours are OK.'

Earthquakes are not uncommon in New Zealand, and in fact GeoNet describes locating 'between 50 and 80 earthquakes each day, or about 20,000 a year.'

Most of these events are too small to be noticed by residents, but the frequency comes due to New Zealand's location on the so-called 'Ring of Fire' – a 40,000km arc of volcanoes and ocean trenches that circles much of the Pacific Ocean.

The 'strong' quake felt at around 4.00pm was one of five to have hit New Zealand in the last day, according to GeoNet, which describes three of the previous quakes as 'weak' and one as 'moderate'.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University before going on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems. She joined UNILAD in 2018 and now works as Senior Journalist covering breaking news, trending stories and longer form features with a focus on human interest stories.

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