Buildings sway as severe quake strikes South Island

ecuador earthquakeDozens of people reported feeling a magnitude 6.2 earthquake, which hit near Kaikoura in the South Island yesterday afternoon.

The quake struck at a depth of 50km, 35km south-east of St. Arnaud, at 3.36pm. It was classified as “severe” by GeoNet, the highest intensity available.

GNS seismologist Caroline Little said there could be aftershocks up to a magnitude 5 over the coming days or weeks.

Little said GNS received one report describing the intensity as “damaging” and more than 20 saying the intensity was “strong”.

Spark said its mobile phone network was congested following the quake, and that congestion was affecting other parts of the country. Spark users across the country have contacted ONE News concerned they were unable to contact loved ones.

Kaikoura District Council chief executive, Stuart Grant, said it felt like two quakes back to back, the first not so bad and the second felt like a “big jolt”. The council building was evacuated but did not appear to be damaged.

Mr. Grant said there were no reports of damage elsewhere, but people would be sent out to check.

Southern Ambulance Communications said it received no call outs. The Tasman District Council also said they had received no calls.

Near the epicentre, Department of Conservation worker, Peter Hale, said it was a “big ol’ wobble and shudder”, adding that it was the worst he’s felt since he moved to the region.

A Saint Arnaud resident described it as the most severe earthquake they had felt in 11 years living in the area. The woman described it as a “violent jolt” that lasted for around 40 seconds.

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