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5.5 magnitude earthquake shakes top of South Island, felt in Wellington

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has rocked the north-western South Island on Sunday afternoon and has been felt across the country.

GeoNet said the earthquake struck just after 4.15pm about 70km north-east of Collingwood, and was recorded at a depth of 189km.

More than 13,000 people have responded to GeoNet’s online alert that they felt the quake, the majority of them in the central and lower North Island.

GeoNet tweeted: “Wow, a lot of you felt that! A M5.5, 190 kilometres deep, centred offshore in the Whanganui Basin. We received around 13,000 felt reports from all over New Zealand.”

GeoNet explained: “This quake likely occurred in the Pacific plate, which dives (subducts) under the Australian plate. Most of the quake’s energy travels up and along the plate to the surface.”

One Wainuiomata resident described the quake as “a little wiggle…pause then bang”

Wellington lawyer Felix Geiringer said on Twitter that the quake was felt in the capital as “two distinct waves”.

On Thursday night, a magnitude 3.3 earthquake was recorded 10km east of Christchurch, at a depth of 7km.

The central North Island was rattled by a magnitude 5.9 quake late last month, that struck 30km south-west of Taumarunui and was recorded at a depth of 210km.
No damage was reported.

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