A “severe” magnitude 5.7 earthquake has hit the New Zealand city of Christchurch almost five years after a deadly tremor devastated the region.
GeoNet Science, the official New Zealand earthquake monitoring service, warned of aftershocks following the “severe intensity” quake.
There have been more than 40 aftershocks, GeoNet reported.
A police spokesman said there were no reports of damage or major injuries, although the tremor did cause “some major rocks to be dislodged into the sea” near Sumner.
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.
“Obviously with a 5.7 magnitude earthquake so close to the eastern coast of Christchurch, it’s certainly been a big shock for the city, a setback in terms of people’s confidence and feeling of security,” Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said.
“Our city is stronger than it was five years ago. There are going to be a lot of people out there feeling very vulnerable.”
Several buildings were evacuated in Christchurch as a precaution.
Jenny Krex, the manager of a coffee shop in the seaside suburb of Sumner, told the New Zealand Herald items broke in her shop after the quake struck.
“Everyone got a big fright, we had everyone running out,” she said.
“I made sure everyone was OK, it was quite a big shock. It’s crazy out here at the moment.”
Videos have started to emerge online of pools turning to waves as water is churned up and rockcliffs crumbling.
GeoNet said the epicentre of the latest earthquake was 15 kilometres east of the city at a depth of 15 kilometres.
GeoNet spokeswoman Caroline Little said the earthquake was too small to cause a tsunami.
She said that with such tremors: “People and animals are alarmed, and many run outside. Walking steadily is difficult … objects fall from walls and shelves.”
New Zealand is on the boundary of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, which form part of the so-called “Ring of Fire”.
The country experiences up to 15,000 tremors a year.
Source — abc.net.au
photo credit – ABC news online.