New Zealand was struck by a severe earthquake on the South Island. The country's seismological agency has reported a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Wellington that caused a shutdown of mobile phone coverage.
Reuters The remains of a building can be seen on a closed and deserted street in the former central business district of the New Zealand city of Christchurch
The strong earthquake may have damaged a house in Nelson based on incoming reports by local news agencies. The New Zealand Stock Exchange is down and public safety authorities are scrambling to answer calls of alarmed residents. Wellington's transportation services suspended its operations.
The earthquake struck Wellington at 2:31 pm local time. New Zealand's Twitter users said the recent earthquake was stronger than the one that struck the city in July 2013. Twitter user and TV1 news reporter Jessica Mutch said people went under their desks to protect themselves.
Marcus Figueroa tweets: "Oh my. That was very strong," "My car was wiggling while driving, I thought one of my wheels was coming off! #eqnz"
Mike Forbes tweeted: "That was easily the biggest quake i've felt," "VERY shakey. house felt like it was wobbling forever."
Michael Brennan, a resident of Seatoun, Wellington, was sitting and watching television when he felt the strong earthquake. He said his house began to shake and sway as he thought "it must have nearly split the country in half."
The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre assured Wellington residents and those in nearby regions that there is no threat of a tsunami to the Australian mainland and its territories. The warning centre also reported that the earthquake happened under the sea with a magnitude of 7.0 near Cook Strait.
GeoNet reported the earthquake was 8 kilometres deep and a magnitude of 6.2. GeoNet classified the New Zealand earthquake as severe with the epicentre at 10 kilometres south east of Seddon.
Based from initial reactions of residents in Wellington, the recent earthquake may just be stronger compared to the previous quake. No casualties are yet to be reported. More on this story as soon as details are available.