At 1:35 p.m. ET today, (4:35 a.m, Saturday in New Zealand), the U.S. Geological Survey recorded a 7.5 mile deep, 7.0 magnitude, earthquake striking Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city. No major injuries have been reported to date, but there has been extensive damage throughout the city.
Airport and rail services have been shut down. Christchurch authorities reported “substantial infrastructure damage” to utilities, particularly bridges and sewer and water facilities, and told Radio New Zealand that many other buildings had been damaged.
Within thirty minutes the national government reported that numerous aftershocks, including a 5.7 magnitude aftershock had struck close to the epicenter and more were expected. It had not yet activated its National Crisis Center, but will make that decision after sunrise when it will be possible to get a better look at the extent of damage suffered by the city.
Police said several city streets that were blocked by falling building facades and many suburban roads were clogged with cars as worried residents tried to flee the city.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no immediate danger of a Pacific tsunami.