New Zealand is rocked by a THIRD earthquake – this time magnitude 8.1 – sparking more tsunami fears and urgent evacuation warnings
- 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the Te Araroa on North Island of New Zealand
- Hours later a 7.4 magnitude earthquake was recorded near Kermadec Islands
- New Zealand authorities issued tsunami warning urging evacuation of homes
- National Emergency Management Agency later downgraded tsunami warning
Three earthquakes have rocked the North Island of New Zealand sparking a tsunami warning.
A 7.3-magnitude quake was recorded at 2.27am east of the North Island, before another 7.4-magnitude tremor was recorded near the Kermadec Islands four hours later.
An 8.0 magnitude earthquake was then recorded in the same area leading authorities to issue a tsunami warning to the east coast.
Residents from the Bay of Islands to Whangarei, from Matata to Tolaga Bay and Wakatane, Opotiki and Great Barrier Island have been told to evacuate from their homes.
This diagram shows where the earthquake struck off the coast of New Zealand on Thursday
New Zealand’s emergency management agency told people living in a 100-mile stretch of coast to move inland or to high ground as soon as possible
The National Emergency Management Agency has urged residents who may have felt the earthquake to move to higher ground as well.
‘People in all other areas who felt a long or strong earthquake that made it hard to stand up, or lasted longer than a minute, should move immediately to the nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible,’ the agency said.
The National Emergency Management Agency earlier issued a separate tsunami warning for the North Island before downgrading it to a national advisory of tsunami activity at 5am then withdrawing it at 6am.
‘Based on GNS Science’s modelling and ocean observations on tide gauges and the New Zealand DART Buoys, our science advice is that the threat of strong and unusual currents has now passed for all parts of New Zealand,’ the agency said.
‘Thank you to everyone who evacuated when you felt a long or strong earthquake this morning. You did the right thing.’
The first quake was also much more dramatic for residents on the North Island, who described a ‘very long, swaying shake’ and houses making ‘cracking sounds’ in a tremor which some thought had lasted for as long as a minute.
‘Okay, like literally the entire country felt that,’ one shocked resident said on social media. ‘That is terrifying.’
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern took to Instagram following the earthquake.
‘Hope everyone is ok out there – especially on the east coast who would have felt the full force of that earthquake,’ Ms Jacinda Ardern said.
More than 60,000 people reported feeling the quake on seismic monitor GeoNet, with a few hundred describing the shaking as ‘severe’ and 75 calling it ‘extreme’.
New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern said on Instagram that she ‘hopes everyone is ok out there’ after the early-morning earthquake
The map shared by Ardern showing how many people had reported the quake in New Zealand, with more reports in darker-brown areas
The 2.30am quake, which came less than an hour after a 3.7-magnitude rumble in the same area, was measured at 110 miles from the city of Gisborne. Aftershocks were still being recorded in the area.
Tsunami waves were possible within 180 miles of the earthquake’s epicentre, the US-operated Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.
The Hawaii-based warning centre said in a 3am update that ‘tsunami waves had been observed’ following the earthquake.
New Zealand’s disaster agency said shortly afterwards that flooding was expected in a 100-mile coastal stretch from Cape Runaway to Tolaga Bay.