7.1-Earthquake Strikes Off New Zealand Coast; No Tsunami Threat to Hawaii
An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.2 struck off the New Zealand coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday.
The temblor, which struck about 4:37 p.m. UTC , was centered approximately 104 miles northeast of Gisborne and 145 miles east of Tauranga, according to the incident page.
It was downgraded a short time later to a magnitude-7.1 quake.
The undersea quake triggered a “very small” tsunami that hit the country’s northern coast, USGS geophysicist John Bellini said. There were no immediate reports of any injuries or serious damage.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has not issued a Pacific-wide warning for the potentially destructive ocean waves.
The Gisborne District Council has urged people along the coast to evacuate the area and head to higher ground.
Local residents reported on Twitter that the shaking lasted anywhere between 30 seconds to at least a minute long.
“That was the longest earthquake I’ve ever been in,” a user named Jo Honey tweeted.
It was powerful enough to wake up residents in Auckland, hundreds of kilometers west of the epicenter, Auckland-based journalist Aroha Hathaway said.
There have been no immediate reports of injuries.
A short time after the large quake, Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency tweeted that there was no tsunami threat to the state.
The area where the temblor hit — the eastern margin of the Australia plate — is among the most seismically active on the planet, according to USGS.
Fifteen earthquakes with magnitudes of at least 7.5 have been recorded near New Zealand since 1900.