A Valentines Day earthquake hit New Zealand's South Island at one o'clock in the afternoon. There were no fatalities reported, however, substantial damage to the cliffs around Christchurch is evident. The 5.4 magnitude earthquake has been classed as severe by GNS Science, New Zealand's seismological body, and was reported to be at a depth of 15km and only 15km to the east of Christchurch city. The tremor, larger than many had expected, could be felt across the entire southern island.

Anniversary of the fatal 2011 quake

This latest quake comes just days before the anniversary of the 2011 eruption which saw 185 people lose their lives.

It is said that the ground around the shores went soft prior to the quake, causing people to sink up to their ankles as water seeped up through the sand. Then, rocks and stone began tumbling from the cliffs as the eruption began and lasted for a duration of approximately half a minute.

Pacific Ring of Fire

  • New Zealand is seated along the deadly ring encircling the Pacific Ocean which is a hot spot for earthquakes and volcanoes.
  • Almost 90% of earthquakes throughout the world occur within the ring due to the seismic activity created by adjoining tectonic plates.
  • Covering the west coast of the Americas and the East of Asia, the ring encompasses Challenger Deep and Marianas Trench.
  • New Zealand is the second victim of the ring in less than a week after a 6.4 magnitude quake struck Taiwan, unfortunately on that occasion, with far worse consequences.

Normality quick to resume

When the earthquake struck, the beaches of Christchurch were seeing the usual flow of weekend swimmers and surfers, nearby streets and shops were carrying on as usual.

Despite some shops being evacuated as stock was thrown from shelves throughout the quake, normality was restored soon after the dust had settled. Damage was visible to the cliff edges and the dust remained, with some residents reporting damage to property, but it is understood there has been no fatalities and no serious injuries.

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