Jul 19, 2013

CityFirst, residents of New Zealand were awoken by a 5.7 earthquake in the morning, then concerned by a strong 4.7 magnitude earthquake in the afternoon, and then finally alarmed by another 4.3 earthquake last night. According to StuffNZ, the morning earthquake “turned Wellington office workers white-knuckled as it swayed high-rises in the capital…”, and was felt as far away as Christchurch and New Plymouth.

Although Wellington residents felt one big jolt, gradually picking up in intensity, those in Blenheim felt two shakes. Geonet reportedly received over 6,000 reports of the quake from frightened residents, although according to experts, it could have been much worse had it occurred on the South Island itself. Even though it knocked items off of shelves in Blenheim, it was luckily too small to cause a tsunami. It was preceded by a mini-earthquake (2.9M) 6 8940848minutes before it struck. The Earthquake Commission has received 14 reports of damage following the first quake, but more are expected to follow as people return home from work.

By 11am, there had been 14 aftershocks in the region, and experts expect more over the next 24 hours. A bizarre occurrence was also reported by the geological authorities:

Early analysis had the fault movement as “reverse faulting”, meaning each side of the fault was being compressed.

In Marlborough, a frightened farmer (who was also present in Christchurch during the Boxing Day earthquake of 2010) said,

“It was like being on a bloody rollercoaster,”