2012-07-03 15:50:20

Earthquake Hits North New Zealand's Coast

WELLINGTON - A strong earthquake struck off the west coast of New Zealand's North Island on Tuesday, shaking residents across a wide area and toppling goods from shelves but there were no immediate reports of major damage or injury.

The 7.0 magnitude quake was centered 170 km northwest of the capital Wellington at a depth of 230 km (147 miles), the national GeoNet website reported. The U.S. Geological Service earlier reported the tremor at a 6.2 magnitude. There was no tsunami warning issued.

The quake was felt throughout central New Zealand, sparking a flurry of activity on social network sites, but local media reported only minor damage.

"It was a good shake but we see no damage. I felt the whole building shake," a spokeswoman at the Opunake police station told Reuters. The quake was centered 60 km from Opunake.

The New Zealand dollar dipped to a session low near 80 U.S. cents following the tremor.

Christchurch, the New Zealand's second-largest city, is still recovering from a shallow quake measuring 6.3 which killed 182 people in February 2011 and caused some NZ$20 billion ($15.5 billion) in damage.

Proud Partners