World News

Powerful 7.8 Earthquake Hits New Zealand

A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed two people and caused massive infrastructure damage in New Zealand on Sunday midnight. The tremor is one of the most powerful ever recorded in the quake-prone South Pacific nation.
With the epicenter on the South Island seaside tourist town of Kaikoura, the earthquake triggered a tsunami alert that sent thousands of people fleeing for higher ground. A mild tsunami followed, with waves of only about 6 feet before the alert was lifted. Hundreds of aftershocks, some stronger than 6.0, continued to rattle the country in the hours after the main quake. Wild weather, including strong winds, hampered rescue efforts.
Railway tracks were ripped up and tossed 30 feet by the force of the quake. Landslips dumped hundreds of tons of rocky debris on the main highway while huge fissures opened up in roads.
Civil defense minister Gerry Brownlee said, “It looks as though it's the infrastructure that's the biggest problem, although I don't want to take away from the suffering… and terrible fright so many people have had.”
The 23km deep earthquake was felt across most of the country, causing severe shaking in the capital Wellington 155 miles away. Just 5 years ago, a 6.3 tremor in nearby Christchurch killed 185 people.
Earthquake engineer Ken Elwood, from the University of Auckland, attributed the relative lack of fatalities to the quake's midnight timing and the fact it hit a sparsely populated rural area. “People were safe in their homes, homes might get damaged but they're safer for the people inside and that's certainly the blessing of this earthquake.”
New Zealand sits on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button