Quakes shake Wellington

Last updated 15:23 19/07/2013

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A second, smaller earthquake was felt this afternoon after a 'severe' 5.7 magnitude tremor rocked Wellington this morning.

This afternoon's quake was felt about 3:21pm and Geonet reported it was a magnitude 4.5 centred 35km east of Seddon at a depth of 15km.

An Earthqake Commission spokeswoman said 14 claims had been received following this morning's earthquake, but she expected more once people got home from work this afternoon.

It was too early to itemise the claims, she said.

A GNS Science duty seismologist Anna Kaiser said the shallow quake centred east of Seddon, in Cook Strait, and was about 8km deep.

It struck about 9.07am. GNS rated the quake as 'severe' and received about 6000 earthquake reports within an hour of the quake striking.

She said aftershocks would likely follow the quake throughout the day, however most would be too small to feel.

It was unlikely another big jolt would strike today, but the possibility could not be ruled out, she said.

Emergency services had not reported any callouts from the quake and Ms Kaiser said any damage to property would likely be minor and non-structural. 

Wellington City Council building compliance and property staff are in the process of checking the council's major structures, as well as its earthquake-prone buildings, such as the Town Hall and the neighbouring Municipal Office Building.

Council spokesman Richard MacLean said there had not yet been reports of any damage to council property.

Did you feel it? Any reports of damage? Email us at web@dompost.co.nz

GeoNet 'felt' reports indicate that it was felt as far north as Auckland and as far south as Oamaru.

READERS REACT

Monica Olivares, assistant manager of crystal shop Swarovski on Lambton Quay is a Los Angeles native and is used to earthquakes.

However, since the Christchurch quakes she says she is more wary of tremors here than the ones she feels in her hometown.

‘‘I feel them more than I do in LA,’’ Ms Olivares said.

No customers were in the shop when the jolt hit just after 9am but Ms Olivares said stock cabinets and cases were creaking and she was especially worried about a swaying chandelier.

‘‘I had my eyes on it the whole time.’’ 

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Michelle Gordon said it "felt huge in Lower Hutt".

"Doors were swinging and everything moving and rattling. Never seen my teenagers get out of bed so fast."

Mena Bassily in Wellington said the earthquake "felt like I was standing on a skate board. I was at the gym on one floor and hoped it was only Wellington, not a bigger remote earthquake harming another NZ city somewhere else".

Jenny Nelson of Wellington wrote: "It was a rattler - cabinets and glasses clinking."

Hinekura Winiata wrote: ‘‘Felt it here in Otaki. It was strong and could hear the rumbling of it.’’

Tess Cunliffe-Steel said she felt the shake "at Taueru, on the way down to Castlepoint in the Wairarapa. Some cups fell over in the crocery cupboard, but no damage".

The building manager for Wellington's tallest building, the 28-storey The Majestic Centre, Nathan Ryan, said initial reports were that there was no damage to the building.

There was not enough movement in the high-level lifts to trigger the seismic sensors, which could potentially have stopped the lifts from moving.

He said seismic monitoring equipment in the building was being checked to ensure everything was OK.

The building is also the head office of the Earthquake Commission where 177 staff are employed.

 

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES

KiwiRail had put precautionary restrictions on trains going through tunnels or over bridges, a spokeswoman said.

They extended from Otaki, just south of Levin, to just north of Kaikoura, she said.

Restrictions meant trains would travel slowly across bridges and through tunnels.

All the structures and lines would be checked before the restrictions were lifted.

Via Twitter Telecom said there had been no reported impact on services, staff, or facilities following the quake and that they would continue to monitor the situation.

 

- The Dominion Post

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