A 6.5 magnitude earthquake has been widely felt through both North and South Islands this afternoon.
The quake struck at a depth of 150km, 30km west of Taupo at 3:36pm, Geonet reported.
It was reportedly felt in Wellington, Hawkes Bay, Blenheim, Nelson and Christchurch.
Geonet data centre spokeswoman Jennifer Coppola said the quake was the largest to strike near Taupo for a decade.
However, earthquakes in the area were common and this was not a sign of increased volcanic activity around Lake Taupo, she said.
“Volcanoes are not related to earthquakes. They have quite a different signal.
“I wouldn’t say this is unusual. It’s an active zone. Just the magnitude is the something out of the ordinary.”
The depth of the earthquake meant it was felt over a wider area than a shallow quake like the 6.3 February 22 aftershock in Christchurch, Ms Coppola said.
There had been one report of slight damage in Wellington, but that was yet to be confirmed, she said.
The Prime Minister’s press secretary, Lesley Hamilton, said the quake was felt strongly on the ninth floor of the Beehive.
Briar Charmley, private secretary for the Attorney-General on the 19th floor of Bowen House in downtown Wellington, said the building swayed more than in any previous earthquake she had felt in her 12 months in the office.
“It was relatively short but nonetheless quite violent compared to all the other earthquakes I’ve felt in this building.
“It felt bigger than the February 22 quake in Christchurch, which we also felt here, so my immediate thought was, ‘gosh, I really hope that’s not a Christchurch earthquake, because if so it must be huge’.”
Residents throughout the North and South Islands took to Twitter to report the quake.
RitchOC said: “Earthquake!!! That was a biggie…6.5! Ran out house here in Kapiti. Still shaking… Me that is…There goes tonight’s sleep.”
Sam Rye said: “Fair sized earthquake in Wellington #eqnz – shaking building!”
Others compared the quake given to the 2.9 magnitude shock that struck Auckland on Friday.
“Aucklanders make a big deal over a 2.9 that felt like a gust of wind all over the news. Wellingtonians brush off a 6.5,” Keegan Check said.
The quake was reported as far south as Christchurch, where residents compared it to a small aftershock.
Did you feel it? Give us your first hand reports and tell us where you are!
on 5/07/2011 8:59am
Hi weather watch,
I was wondering why this earthquake wasn’t felt in Auckland? Taupo is closer to Auckland than Wellington and definitely a lot closer than Christchurch. I was sitting at my desk and didn’t feel a thing! I felt Aucklands tiny earthquake last Friday!
Is it something to do with fault lines? Also how would this earthquake have rated on the Mercalli scale?
on 5/07/2011 8:16am
Nothing felt out here in West Melton.
on 5/07/2011 7:34am
Likewise to many others on here I never felt anything at Papamoa.
on 5/07/2011 4:35am
I would be inclined to go with the 6.5 because it was felt here in Christchurch as a very gentle ‘wave going under a boat’. I would say felt like 2.5mag. The depth saved any damage 150km underground is like saying you were 150km away from the epicentre for the closest areas in a way.
on 5/07/2011 4:22am
Didn’t feel a thing here in Levin, only knew about it after going onto Trademe messageboards. Even the cat is still fast asleep as per usual LOL
on 5/07/2011 4:15am
USGS website gives the magnitude as 5.3. That sounds bit realistic as I do not think it must has been as big as magnitude 6.5.
on 5/07/2011 4:06am
Felt it as a gentle rolling motion here in Porirua north of Wellington.
I thought it was a 3.3 if centred locally, wow! how wrong was I.