Strong quake rattles West Coast

A magnitude-4.2 earthquake has hit the West Coast.

Geonet said the quake struck at 3.23pm today and was centred 10 kilometres east of Reefton.

It was 5km deep, with intensity described as "strong".

More than 30 people have reported feeling the jolt. 

Reports came from as far as Karamea, almost 200km to the north of Reefton, and Kumara, 100km to the south.

Constable Mark Watson, officer in charge of the Reefton police, said he was in the police station when the quake hit, and he described it as ''a very violent shake with quite a loud noise to it''.

He knew roading contractors had planned to do some blasting at a corner near Reefton, so he assumed that was the cause, but later learnt that it was a quake.

''I thought it was more of an explosion. It was just like that; pretty short and sharp.''

The only quake-related call he had received was from his daughter checking that he was safe.

The Press