New Zealand, Japan rocked by strong earthquakes; tsunami feared

Today's New Zealand quake was centred about 20km off the lower North Island.
Today's New Zealand quake was centred about 20km off the lower North Island.
NZ rocked by another quake; Japan fears tsunami in same area as 2011 disaster

A 5.4-strength earthquake struck the southern Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand this afternoon. There have been no immediate reports of casualties or damage to buildings or infrastructure.

The country is still reeling from last week’s Kaikoura quake, which killed two people and caused billions of dollars’ damage.

The quake hit 70km southeast of Porangahau at a depth of 30km at 1.19pm.

Roseanne Steele from Porangahau Beach Road Holiday Park said there had been several earthquakes throughout the day.

“It was a big sway, a big movement. There was a wave in the pool. My tropical fish tank upstairs was moving,” she said. “The place is continually moving out here. It’s not nice, not nice at all.”

Geonet, the government geotechnical institute, has reported 12 shakes off the coast of Porangahau in the past 24 hours.

Seismologist John Ristau said the earthquakes were at the southern end of where a slow slip event was taking place. The event was going along the east coast of the North Island.

Slow slip events happen on the boundary of two tectonic plates. In this case, the Pacific Plate was pushing beneath the Australian Plate, which the North Island was sitting on.

And a 7.3-strength earthquake has hit Japan, causing a tsunami evacuation in coastal areas.

There were no immediate reports of injury or damage, but long lines of cars have formed as coastal residents follow government orders to flee to higher ground or an evacuation building.

NHK, the state broadcaster is repeatedly telling people in coastal areas of the Fukushima prefecture to evacuate to higher ground immediately.

All nuclear plants on the coast threatened by the tsunami are shut down in the wake of the March 2011 disaster which knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, spilling radiation into the air and sea.

The 2011 tsunami, sparked by a 9.1-strength quake, killed nearly 16,000 people with thousands still missing.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas. Japan accounts for about 20 per cent of the world’s earthquakes of 6 or greater.



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