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Alert Raised as New Zealand Suffers 7.1 Earthquake, Tsunami, Power Outage

Sep 02, 2016 04:55 AM EDT
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Earthquake damage in Christchurch
A common scene around Christchurch, following the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit the city on Saturday September 4, 2010 at around 4:33 a.m.
(Photo : Flickr/Creative Commons/Invervegas)

On Friday, the east Coast of New Zealand's North Island was shaken by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, the biggest to hit the region in 20 years. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake hit 105 miles northeast of the city of Gisborne and had a depth of 19.1 miles.

New Zealand Herald said in total, the quake which struck at 4:37 a.m. left 1,000 homes without power. One hundred forty aftershocks, nearly 100 magnitude 3 or above were also noted.

"There's big cracks in the ceiling beams, about 40cms long. There's also cracks in the walls and the water tanks are hammered. The tanks have got cracks in the top and bottom, and they're both leaking water. They'll need to be replaced," Anton McKay, who lives near Gisborne, told the news site.

A report by The Independent said that following the strong tremors, an "initial potential warning" covering the east coast of the North Island and the upper South Island was made 90 minutes after the quake as a 30 centimeter-wave was detected near the east coast.

The tsunami warning was lifted hours after. The ministry of civil defense and its scientific advisors are still evaluating the severity of the tsunami threat.

Meanwhile, no injury was reported. Officials said it is now safe Gisborne residents to return, but emphasized that they must stay away from beaches.

The ministry's statement read:

Areas under ‘Marine and Beach Threat' can expect unusually strong currents and unpredictable water flows near the shore. This means a threat to beach, harbour, estuary and small boat activities. The severity of currents and changing water flows will vary within a particular coastal area and over the period this warning is in effect. Current assessments indicate that coastal inundation (flooding of land areas near the shore) is not expected but this assessment may change.

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