Powerful earthquake strikes near New Zealand

earthquake

UPDATE: WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealand authorities say a powerful earthquake has generated a tsunami, with the first waves hitting the South Island.

The department of civil defense warned people all along the country’s east coast to move to higher ground.

The magnitude-7.8 quake struck just after midnight Sunday near the city of Christchurch. It was at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).

Some minor damage was reported in the capital, Wellington, over 200 kilometers (120 miles) away. There were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries in Christchurch.

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ORIGINAL STORY: WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A powerful earthquake struck New Zealand near the city of Christchurch early Monday, with strong jolts causing some damage to buildings over 200 kilometers (120 miles) away in the capital, Wellington.

New Zealand emergency services warned that a tsunami was possible and told people near the coast of the South Island to move to higher ground. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no immediate danger of a broader tsunami from the magnitude-7.4 quake.

In Wellington, 214 kilometers (132 miles) north of the quake’s epicenter, power was knocked out in some places, and some windows smashed and some chimneys collapsed.

There were no immediate reports of any major damage or injuries in Christchurch.

The quake, which struck just after midnight Sunday, was centered 93 kilometers (57 miles) northeast of Christchurch, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles). Earthquakes tend to be more strongly felt on the surface when they’re shallow.

The quake brought back memories of a 2011 earthquake that struck Christchurch, destroying much of the city and killing 185 people. But Monday’s quake was much farther away from any major population centers.

New Zealand sits on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common.

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