Share

Magnitude 6.5 Earthquake Rocks New Zealand; 4 Injured

Nick Wiltgen
Published: July 22, 2013

Wellington, N.Z.

Wellington, N.Z.

A bout that used to be on the edge of the road sits in the harbour where the land fell into the sea at the Port Wellington Container terminal caused by an earthquake on July 21, 2013. (Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.
  • Wellington, N.Z.

New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, was rattled by a strong magnitude 6.5 earthquake on Sunday that broke water mains, smashed windows and downed power lines.

Wellington Police Inspector Marty Parker said there was minor structural damage that left parts of the city temporarily without power.

New Zealand television station 3 News reports at least four people were injured. One of the injured was struck by a falling television in Wellington, according to the Dominion Post newspaper.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck under the Cook Strait 54 kilometers (34 miles) south-southwest of Wellington. It was a relatively shallow quake, estimated to have occurred just 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) underground.

(INTERACTIVE MAP: Latest New Zealand Earthquakes)

Across the Cook Strait from Wellington, 3 News reported "serious" damage in the South Island town of Seddon, the closest town to the quake's underwater epicenter. Most of the damage was to the contents inside homes, with only "minor" structural damage, the broadcaster reported.

The New Zealand Herald reports that the Wellington area passenger rail system was closed for inspections, and citizens were warned to avoid the central business district Monday  as buildings and infrastructure continued to be inspected for damage.

The Dominion Post reported rail services had resumed Monday afternoon (New Zealand time) and state highways were in good shape, but people were urged to stay away from the city's CBD until Tuesday. The newspaper said the city's major museums and galleries suffered very little damage.

The quake could be felt hundreds of kilometers away in the center of New Zealand's North Island.

(MORE: Dozens Die in China Earthquakes)

The quake struck at 5:09 p.m. local time Sunday, near nightfall. New Zealand, in the Southern Hemisphere, is in the middle of its winter season. Parker said a more complete picture of the damage would emerge in the morning.

The Sunday evening tremor was part of an earthquake swarm that has been ongoing for several days. A magnitude-5.3 tremor struck early Friday (New Zealand time) in the same area, and a magnitude-5.8 shock occurred 10 hours before the 6.5 quake.

There have also been numerous earthquakes in the area since Sunday evening's quake, including at least eight of 4.5 magnitude or greater as of late Monday local time.

New Zealand is part of the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire" that receives regular seismic activity. A severe earthquake in the city of Christchurch in 2011 killed 185 people and destroyed much of the city's downtown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

MORE: New Zealand Earthquake Video - July 21, 2013


Featured Blogs

Quietest Atlantic Hurricane Season Since 1986

By Dr. Jeff Masters
October 1, 2014

The traditional busiest month of the Atlantic hurricane season, September, is now over, and we are on the home stretch. Just three weeks remain of the peak danger portion of the season. September 2014 ended up with just two named storms forming--Dolly and Edouard. With only five named storms so far in 2014, this is the quietest Atlantic hurricane season since 1986, when we also had just five named storms by the beginning of October.

Another Record Rainfall in Southern France

By Christopher C. Burt
September 30, 2014

It is hard to believe that another rainstorm of equal intensity to that which I blogged about just 11 days ago has again struck the Languedoc Region of Southern France. This time the focus of the storm was centered over the city of Montpellier, Herault District, near the Mediterranean Coast.

Live Blog: Tracking Hurricane Arthur as it Approaches North Carolina Coast

By Shaun Tanner
July 3, 2014

This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.

Tropical Terminology

By Stu Ostro
June 30, 2014

Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.