7.5-magnitude quake hits New Zealand, no casualties reported so far

WELLINGTON, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) — An earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale jolted South Island of New Zealand in the wee hours of Monday, followed by over 50 aftershocks in many parts of North and South Islands amid a tsunami alert. No casualties have been reported so far.

A tsunami has been generated, according to the civil defense authority.

The quake has caused some damage in Wellington, the capital city across the Cook Strait in North Island. Shattered windows and collapsed shelves can be seen on photos posted on local media websites.

A church bell was sounded in Wellington in an apparent attempt to warn residents, and sirens of fire trucks and ambulances can be heard. Some residents rushed out of houses and stayed outside during persistent aftershocks near the capital.

Geonet revised the quake at a magnitude of 7.5 from 6.6 with a depth of 15 km near Culverden, a small town of some 400 residents, about 100 km northwest of Christchurch, the biggest city on South Island.

At least 50 aftershocks struck different parts of New Zealand, several as strong as over 6-magnitude. Residents found the quake a “long slow, rolling or almost rotating motion” while water in swimming pools was left sloshing around for a while.

In Christchurch, the most populous city on South Island and where a 6.3-magnitude quake jolted in February 2011 and killed 145 people, residents felt strong shaking of the ground.

A Christchurch Police spokeswoman told local news outlet Stuff that there hadn’t yet been any calls about damage other than a hole in a road in Hundalee, North Canterbury.

According to Geonet, the epicenter was initially determined to be 20 km southeast of Hanmer Springs, a tourist town famous for hot springs, before Culverden was pinpointed as the extremely affected area.

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