In an unsettling reminder of nature’s force, a significant earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 jolted central regions of New Zealand’s South Island early on Thursday. The quake’s epicenter was near Geraldine, and while there have been no initial reports of severe damage or injuries, the tremor was widely felt across the country. This earthquake stands as the most potent seismic activity to strike New Zealand this year, according to the country’s seismic monitoring agency, GeoNet.
At a relatively shallow depth of 11 km, the tremor was recorded at 9:14 a.m. local time. Impressively, the quake’s reach was expansive, with over 14,000 individuals reporting their experiences, some from as distant as Auckland in the North Island. Sarah Hussey, a resident living close to the quake’s heart, shared her experience, emphasizing the intensity of the jolt. “I initially mistook it for thunder. The sensation was so strong; our house felt like it was lifted momentarily,” Hussey recounted to TVNZ’s 1News.
Meanwhile, in the nearby area of Timaru, officials remain vigilant. Scott Shannon, the city’s deputy mayor, indicated that while there aren’t any immediate damage reports, inspections and evaluations continue to ensure the safety of the community. Memories of past seismic tragedies remain fresh in the minds of many New Zealanders. The proximity of this quake to the devastating 6.3 magnitude tremor that hit in 2011 — leading to the tragic loss of 185 lives and causing extensive damage to Christchurch — only underscores the country’s vulnerability to seismic activities.