Earthquake Hits New Zealand

There have been reports of damage in Masterton and Otaki after a 5.4 magnitude earthquake rattled the lower North Island this afternoon.

The quake struck 10 kilometres north-west of Masterton at 2.22pm at a depth of 30km, according to the quake report from GeoNet, the government’s geologicial hazard monitoring system.

There was also a 3.6 magnitude aftershock at 2.45pm.

There have been several reports of damage in Masterton and Otaki, with walls cracking and items falling from shelves, said Brian Ferris, Geonet’s duty seismologist.

”The earthquake has been felt quite widely throughout the lower North Island.”

It was possible aftershocks would hit, though none had yet, so people should be prepared, he said.

”It’s unlikely there’d be anything bigger.”
He said it was ”unlikely” Masterton’s earthquake, which released about 1000 times less energy than the Canterbury earthquake, was related to the ongoing rumbles in the South Island.

”It’s very unlikely there would be any relationship between the two because of the distance between them.”

Today’s earthquake was the most powerful of the six which have been registered by Geonet since Saturday, starting at magnitude 2.7. The other five earthquakes took place around Canterbury.

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