5.5 earthquake shakes Wellington

00:47, Oct 17 2012
Geonet map showing the quake's location and 'felt it' reports, colour coded for intensity.

A 5.5-magnitude earthquake was felt thoughout the Wellington region on Wednesday.

Geonet said it struck at 12.42pm and was centred 10km northeast of Taupo at a depth of 110km.

GeoNet seismologist John Ristau said reports of damage were unlikely, maybe with the exception of pictures being knocked off walls.

"These earthquakes are actually very common.''

Within moments, more than 800 people as far a field as Auckland, New Plymouth, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, and the upper South Island had reported feeling it.

Because of quirks of seismic waves, it could have been felt harder in areas away from Taupo.

"The seismic waves moving along the surface are what people feel.''

Workers in Taupo on second-floor buildings in the central shopping area experienced swaying of buildings for up to 15 seconds.


Taupo Civil Defence manager Phil Parker was out of town but had spoken to colleagues at Taupo Council "where a lot of people dived under their desks".

Constable Nick Weight, of Taupo, said he felt a "bit of rumble, but nothing too intense".

There has been no reported damage.

In central Wellington, the quake was felt as a sharp jolt followed by a rolling motion.

The quake is the second earthquake felt in Wellington this week. On Monday a 5.2 magnitude hit 15km east of Tokoroa and was 199km deep.

The Dominion Post