Breaking: Powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake strikes New Zealand, USGS says
Planet X Incoming....
DEVELOPING: A powerful earthquake struck New Zealand near the city of Christchurch on Sunday, with strong jolts felt over 120 miles away in the capital, Wellington, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The magnitude-7.8 quake struck just after midnight and was centered 57 miles northeast of Christchurch, according to the USGS.
Some minor damage was reported in the capital, Wellington. There were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries in Christchurch.
The New Zealand Civil Defense issued a tsunami warning for the eastern coast of the country, including Christchurch, Wellington and the Chatham Islands, and warned anyone near the coast to move to higher ground.
The earthquake was at a relatively shallow depth of 6 miles, according to the USGS. Earthquakes tend to be more strongly felt on the surface when they're shallow.
In the capital of Wellington, sirens could be heard and people were on the street crying, the NZ Herald reported.
The quake brought back memories of a 2011 earthquake that struck Christchurch, destroying much of the city and killing 185 people. But Monday's quake was much farther away from any major population centers.
New Zealand sits on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common.
Warning: Some Language as you would might imagine...
Can you imagine the horror of being in a 10.0+ earthquake for 3 Days straight in the three days of darkness!
Tsunami hits New Zealand after massive quake
Seismologist says tidal surge of up to one metre has been recorded in North Canterbury region of the New Zealand's South Island* USGS says quake magnitude revised to 7.8
* NZ authorities warn of risk of destructive waves
* East coast residents urged to seek higher ground
* Hotels, apartment buildings evacuated in Wellington (Adds details of damage, including to power and phone networks)
By Charlotte Greenfield
WELLINGTON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck central New Zealand just after midnight, the U.S. Geological Survey said, causing widespread damage and generating a tsunami.
New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management warned of the risk of destructive waves along the country's entire east coast and urged residents in low-lying areas to evacuate and seek higher ground.
Waves of up to two metres (6 feet) could be possible for up to two hours, it said.
Anna Kaiser, a seismologist at GNS Science said a tidal signal or surge of up to one metre (3 feet) had been recorded in North Canterbury region of the South Island.
"That's reasonably significant so people should take this seriously," she told Radio New Zealand.
New Zealand's Geonet revised up its estimated magnitude of the quake to 7.5, from 6.6 earlier.
USGS said the quake was centred 91 km (57 miles) north-northeast of Christchurch, the biggest city on New Zealand's South Island.
A 6.3 quake there in February 2011 killed 185 people and caused widespread damage.
The tremor was felt throughout most of New Zealand. Some injuries had been reported but there no immediate reports of deaths.
"The whole house rolled like a serpent and some things smashed, the power went out," a woman, who gave her name as Elizabeth, told Radio New Zealand from her home in Takaka, near the top of the South Island.
Chris Hill, a fire officer in Cheviot, a coastal town near the quake's epicentre, said officials had gone door to door evacuating residents.
"Everyone seems OK here," he told RNZ. "There's a lot of debris in houses, but at this stage it doesn't look like anything too bad has happened."
Residents in Wellington said glass had fallen from buildings into the streets and hotels and apartment buildings had been evacuated.
Richard Maclean, a spokesman for the Wellington City Council, said residents had been evacuating the city's southern coastal suburbs due to the tsunami threat and there had been reports of structural damage to several buildings.
"We've got reports of broken water pipes and lots and lots of things off desks and shelves," he told RNZ.
Several roads around the South Island had been closed and damage to power and phone networks was reported.
A series of aftershocks were recorded around the country, some as strong as 6.1 magnitude.