Earthquake strikes about 5.7 magnitude near Christchurch, New Zealand
Many people have been injured and a cliff has collapsed after a severe earthquake hit the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
A strong 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck near Christchurch in New Zealand on Sunday, causing cliffs to collapse into the sea but no major damage to the city, which was devastated by a 2011 quake which killed nearly 200 people.
Police said there were no reports of major damage or serious injuries, but people were evacuated from several buildings and there were reports of some liquefaction.
The quake was strong enough to prompt some stores to evacuate customers and shake items from shelves. Police said there were some rockfalls on Scarborough Hill in the city’s east and were advising people to stay away from affected areas. Geonet said there were more than 40 aftershocks.
The quake came eight days before the anniversary of the deadly 2011 quake that caused upwards of NZ$40 billion ($26.52 billion) of damage, causing much of the city to require a rebuild.
The St. John ambulance service reported that several people had suffered minor injuries from falls as they ran from the quake.
The earthquake came close to the anniversary of the Feb. 22, 2011, magnitude-6.3 temblor that leveled much of the center of New Zealand’s second largest city and killed 185 people.
The US Geological Survey reported that Sunday’s quake was centered 17 kilometers (11 miles) east of the city at a relatively shallow depth of 8 kilometers (5 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to be felt more strongly. No tsunami warning was issued.
The Christchurch City Council said cliffs collapsed in several places along the surrounding coast, spreading large clouds of billowing dust across the sea and hills.
“Our city is stronger than it was five years ago. There are going to be a lot of people out there feeling very vulnerable.”
The quake was one of the largest since 2011, and people from across the South Island reported feeling the ground shaking.
New Zealand sits on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common.
A spokesman for Sumner Surf Life Saving Club told AAP that roads along the beach front and across to the popular Taylor’s Mistake surf beach initially remained open, and he had not heard reports of anyone injured by falling rubble.
The surf clubs at both beaches intended to form a sea patrol to check no sailors or walkers had been caught by falling rubble around the cliffs.