NEW ZEALAND has been shaken by a powerful 6.6 magnitude earthquake just off its eastern coast, days after a string of termors sparked a tsunami warning and mass evacuations.
A number of quakes struck the island country on Tuesday morning, following two huge tremors four days earlier that saw evacuations across a 100-mile stretch of the coast.
A number of low-lying coastal areas were evacuated to higher ground but the threat level has now been downgraded[/caption]
The strongest was recorded at a magnitude of 6.6 which struck at 7:35am local time.
Further away from the mainland, a 4.9 magnitude tremor struck in the Kermadec Islands region just moments later, at 7:36am.
No tsunami warnings have been issued yet.
GeoNet, New Zealand’s official geological hazard information source, reported 12 recordings of shaking from residents on the North Island in the last hour.
However, 11 of the tremors were described as “weak”, with magnitudes below 3.
It comes after a worrying week of substantial tremblers, that brought two huge quakes within a matter of hours.
Terrified residents were forced to flee to high ground as tsunami-like waves surged towards the shore, before another quake struck the Kermadec Islands at around noon on Friday.
The 6.5 magnitude quake struck at 12.12pm local time and followed one of 8.1 by the islands, off northeastern New Zealand on Friday morning.
A tsunami warning was issued by New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency after an earlier quake at around 8:29am.
Locals desperately clamoured to safety after disaster officials warned waves could reach a height of more than 3 feet that would be accompanied by “unpredictable surges”.
GeoNet received 12 reports of shaking from residents on the North Island in the last hour[/caption]
Those inhabiting the 100-mile stretch of coast described a “long, swaying shake” that caused homes to make “cracking sounds”.
The country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered her concerns on Instagram, posting: “Hope everyone is ok out there – especially on the east coast who would have felt the full force of that earthquake.”
Tuesday’s second earthquake at 7:36am was less severe and high waters were only predicted for those living within a 40-mile range along the coast of the north of Auckland.
Shocking footage shared on social media showed large surges of water coming ashore at Tokomaru Bay on the East Coast of the country.
Tsunami warnings were issued across the Pacific, including in New Caledonia and Vanuatu, as smaller tsunami waves were expected to be seen as far away as Antartica.
Parts of South America were also on alert, according to the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
However, the tsunami warnings were later revoked and people who had evacuated were allowed to return to their homes.
Most read in World News
Two earlier powerful quakes were recorded near the Kermadec Islands with a magnitude of 7.4 and 7.3 near Hikurangi.
“It’s hard not to feel like our country is having a run of bad luck, when you have an earthquake, tsunami and pandemic to contend with all in one day,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
The 8.1 magnitude earthquake triggered a series of tremors for a number of hours afterwards, with shockwaves of magnitude 5 were felt in the region.