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Earthquake shakes southern New Zealand

Southern New Zealand experienced a magnitude-7.6 earthquake on July 15, 2009.

Credit: 

U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program

A magnitude-7.6 earthquake rattled the South Island of New Zealand at 8:22 p.m. local time Wednesday. No serious injuries or damages have been reported.

The quake's epicenter was 150 kilometers west of Invercargill, off the coast of New Zealand's South Island at a depth of 12 kilometers, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program. Subsequent to the major tremor, the region has experienced several aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 5 to 5.8.

Following the initial quake, NOAA’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, issued a tsunami warning, but canceled the warning once the waves were discovered to be less than .17 meters (approximately 7 inches). At this time, the center is predicting no Pacific-wide tsunamis.

Over the past two decades, New Zealand has experienced five earthquakes with magnitudes of at least 6.4. The most recent occurred in August 2003, when a magnitude-7.2 earthquake caused minor damages in Otago and Southland and produced landslides around the Fiordland region.

Zahra Hirji
Wednesday, July 15, 2009