6.5 magnitude quake

Last updated 18:50 21/07/2013
Seymour clock
Derek Flynn
The clock in Seymour Square stop when the quake hit at 5.09 tonight.
Supermarket shelves
Emma Allen
New World supermarket in Blenheim

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Things continue to rattle and roll in Marlborough with a 6.5 magnitude quake closely followed by a 5.2.

Seddon chief fire officer Kieron Hebberd says power lines are down in the town. 

Marlborough lines says they are getting callouts from people who have lost power in Blenheim, Ward, Tua Marina, and the Awatere Valley.

Rarangi fire force controller and civil defence manager Steve Banks said Rarangi had lost power.

He had cordoned off the road heading over to Whites Bay because a few slips had come down on the road, he said.

The power at Tuamarina went out when two poles were moving in different directions and the wires between them came down.

A fire crew was keeping traffic away from the wires until a Marlborough Lines crew at the scene could repair the break.

A Kiwirail spokeswoman said services from Otaki in the North Island to Kaikoura had been suspended until further notice.

There could be some disruption to freight services between Picton and Kaikoura, while an inspection of the tracks, bridges and tunnels was done, the spokeswoman said.

Emergencies Services manager at the Council, John Foley, says the ministry of civil defence issued an advisory that there is no tsunami warning.

He confirmed power is out around the region, and Marlborough Lines are checking to see how long people will be without power.

He also confirmed there were slips being investigated around Seddon.

He said that apart from giving people a very big fright, there are no reports of injuries or building damage he is aware of.

He advises people to remain where they are, to pull out there emergency kits - torches, water, etc.

Countdown in the centre of Blenheim has closed. They are not letting anyone in until they can clean up.

New World and the Warehouse in Blenheim have closed to clear up the mess. 

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Firemen could be seen in New World.

The Warehouse Blenheim manager, Ian Daubney said there glass had smashed all over the floor and a lot of stock had been damaged. 
The store was evacuated and closed briefly while staff cleaned up the mess.

"It was huge,'' he said. "It shook our staff something wicked.''

The store had been re-opened so people could stock up on emergency items such as batteries and water, he said

The crew on a 10m yacht coming back into Waiakawa thought they had run aground at the entrance to the marina and discovered later that is was at the time of the earthquake. They said it was remarkable to have felt the quake on the water.

A Blenheim woman said she was driving when the quake hit, it felt like the car had a flat tyre and it felt like she was about to hit the curb.

Central New Zealand has been shaken throughout the day with a swarm of quakes including this evening's 6.8 event.

The majority of the quakes have been centred in the same area off Seddon, Marlborough, that was hit on Friday by a 5.7. This morning's first quake - 4.2 - struck at 7.04, was at a 10km depth and centred 35km east of Seddon.

It was followed 13 minutes later by the 5.8 shake that was centred 30km east of Seddon at a depth of 19km and then at 7.20 by a 4.3km shake at a depth of 14km and 25km east of Seddon, while a fourth - 4.3 - rattled the region from a depth of 22km at 7.30.

There have been over 30 earthquakes in the same area in total so far this morning with the latest bigger ones being 4.5 magnitude at 9.28am, 5.1 at 10.55am and 4.6 at 12.21pm.

Geonet duty seismologist Dr Anna Kaiser said it's expected they would continue.

"It's quite common to get a shock reaching about four (on the richter scale) before a larger one, like we had before the 5.8 this morning.

"It's also normal to get a series of threes and fours afterwards and about every two minutes or so is common.''

GeoNet's website also crashed this morning due to a high demand from people wanting to see where earthquakes have struck.

The run of earthquakes are a reminder that Wellington is a seismic active area and everyone should always be prepared, she said.

"These quakes this morning are very close to the subduction interface, which is the boundary between the Pacific and Australian plate."

The aftershocks this morning have ranged from 2.5 to 4.1 - all centred in the same region. While Geonet initially reported quakes in other areas in both islands, it appears they were erroneous recordings sparked by the other quakes. 

- Marlborough


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