Friday, December 21, 2007

Earthqake rocks New Zealand

A powerful 6.8 earthquake struck off New Zealand on Thursday, knocking down buildings, ripping holes in streets and causing widespread power outages in one eastern city.

Strong tremors were felt across the country when the quake hit at 8:55 pm about 50 kilometres from the coastal city of Gisborne, which was littered with broken glass.

Ten people were treated for minor injuries and up to 10 fires were brought under control, while police cordoned off the city centre. No tsunami warning was issued.

A state of emergency has been declared for the centre of the eastern New Zealand city of Gisborne after a powerful 6.8 earthquake flattened buildings and left gaping holes in roads.

The centre of the city of 42,000 people has been cordoned off by police, who said two buildings had collapsed and others were badly damaged.
There have been numerous earthquakes in the region recently, including a strong 7.6 magnitude quake near the Auckland Islands south of New Zealand on September 30.

New Zealand lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where colliding plates in the earth's crust cause frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity.

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