September 3rd, 2010
02:12 PM ET

USGS: 7.0 magnitude quake hits near New Zealand

[Updated at 2:57 p.m.] For continuing coverage of the earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand, read our full story here.

[Updated at 2:09 p.m.] The magnitude of the earthquake Saturday in New Zealand was 7.0, down from earlier assessments of 7.4 and 7.2, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The new assessment said the quake was 7.5 miles deep and 20 miles northwest of Christchurch.

An aftershock with a magnitude of 5.7 struck not far from the epicenter about 20 minutes later, the survey said.

Reinier Eulink, general manager of the Holiday Inn in Christchurch, said there's damage around the hotel corridors and "big cracks in the walls."

"It was a big big long jolt, and the building moved a lot," he said. The 13-floor building, with about 150 rooms, was about 40 percent occupied, and he estimated that 80 or more people were staying at the hotel at the time.

Power was knocked out, but emergency power came on. People were milling around in the hotel lobby, trying to get warm during the chilly Southern Hemisphere winter.

"My room is totally upside down," Eulink said.

A Christchurch Hospital shift manager said there are injuries and damage from the quake.

"We are in emergency planning at the moment," he said.

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[Updated at 1:44 p.m.] The earthquake in New Zealand caused "a lot of damage," though there are no reports of serious injuries or major damage, an emergency official said.

"It was like a freight train running through the house," said Chris Monroe, operations manager for the New Zealand Fire Service.

Power is out and damage has been reported all over Christchurch, he said. At this stage, though, most of the damage reports are relatively minor, such as cracks in buildings or broken windows, he said.

New Zealand Herald reporter Jarrod Booker told the paper
he was in the suburb of Linwood, New Zealand and was sleeping when he felt "extremely violent shaking."

"Items were falling and crashing around the house," he told the news paper.

Booker told his editors his neighbors chimney had collapsed and crashed through a car's windshield.

[Updated at 1:36 p.m.] We've just had a terrible earthquake," said Paula May, a Christchurch resident. "We have no power. Lots of stuff in the house is all over the floor. All the power is down so I can't see anything. There's no power in the town."

A person who answered the phone at The George hotel in Christchurch, told CNN that "we are cleaning up at the present moment" but wouldn't disclose any more detail.

[Updated at 1:18 p.m.] The Christchurch Press newspaper in New Zealand is reporting that power appears to have been knocked out across large portions of the city.

The quake, and several aftershocks, have been felt throughout the South Island, the paper reported.

News website stuff.co.nz reported that residents were seeing damage in the city.

Colleen Simpson told the website after the quake people ran out into the street in their pajamas and that people were having trouble using their cellphones.

"Oh my God. There is a row of shops completely demolished right in front of me," Simpson told the site.

The site also reported the quake had caused "widespread damage" and was also felt as far as Wellington, New Zealand.

[Updated at 1:11 p.m.] A man who was at the international airport in Christchurch described the scene.

"The entire terminal started shaking," he said. "I knew it was an earthquake.There was not much you could do at that point."

[Updated at 1:02 p.m.] A 7.2-magnitude earthquake has struck near New Zealand, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake struck at 4:35 a.m. Saturday (12:35 p.m. ET Friday) about four miles southeast of Christchurch, a major city in New Zealand, the survey reported.

The quake was 10 miles deep.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The quake is not likely to generate a tsunami, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

[Posted at 12:49 p.m.] An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.4 struck Friday near New Zealand, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake , which was 21.1 miles deep, was 20 miles from Christchurch, New Zealand, a city of about 380,000 people, the USGS said.

–CNN's Nick Valencia, Mark Bixler and Joe Sterling contributed to this report

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Filed under: Earthquake • New Zealand
soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. janet kneale

    BIT MUCH WHEN WE CAN FIND OUT MORE HERE IN THE UK THAN THEY CAN IN CHRISTCHURCH CELL PHONE COVERAGE NOT GOOD THERE PHONE LINES DOWN AS WELL AS POWER CAN GET MESSAGE IN BY TEXT FROM UK BUT NOT FROM PART OF NZ TO THE OTHER

    September 3, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. petra

    mother earth is giving birth ..............to more brain? I do not hope as hope is something for the pope.Be happy to be choose to live for a blink of an eye on that beautiful planet and just remember ...... money can't buy a new planet
    A thinking creature from Christchurch

    September 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jenna

    Have friends in Wellington... any news?

    September 3, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Trent Jesso

    We live right here in the Christchurch area. It was a crazy and new experience for me. Definitely hard on the nerves especially with the aftershocks. Everyone I have talked to is ok....no power though.....funny thing is radio reporting people heading to the beach....I mean really?!

    September 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Stacey

    Another earthquake just happened .... or a very nasty aftershock.......

    September 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Me

    Sucks to be you guys!

    September 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Peter

    I take exception to that disparaging remark. Structurally New Zealand houses are safe. Compare the level of destruction in this earthquake to those in the US of a similar magnitude. New Zealand houses are frequently made of WOOD which flexes rather than breaks in an earthquake. This was something New Zealand learned almost 200 years ago when a major earthquake devastated the city of Wellington. They are not WARM ; but they are safe.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tony

    Hello, I am praying for The residents of New Zealand. First of all I wanna state that our lord is not doing this intentionally however he is doing what he has to do and that is to stop the suffering of good people from evilish people. As you can see there are at least 10% or more of humanity that are just plain old disrespectful and have no feelings towards what's happening in new Zealand or Haiti for that matter. Al gore is just another person trying to warn us. He doesn't care about the money, he's wealthy enough for 10lives. God saved the Haiti people and Pakistani people and Chinese people and Katrina victims all from communism terrorism, greed, and evil. Whoever dies from a natural disaster, you best believe it that they are in a better place. Think about it bad people on this planet never really have any unfortunate news. The only unfortunate news for them is that they'll have a trial and sentence before they could live the life they really wanted in heaven. God loves you, but you have to understand that the end is near and he has to start clearing the way for the good people first. Also our Lord has his own family and angels that he has to look out for. Life is a chance for you and your family to prove God that you are in fact a good person and would want to go to heaven rather than have to be in trial for long periods of time before you are accepted to heaven. Even Jesus will not know of the day when the end is here nor the angels. only God will. That could tell you that Muhammad is possibly Gods son also. God is everything on this earth and everywhere. He will take everything from us just to prove us wrong. We are all good spirited people and mean no harm but we all have some evil thoughts and if you make those evil thoughts escalate to evil doing than he will leave you alone til he's fed up with you. I personally think that Christchurch earth quake should be a wake up call for the 5 leaders that rule the this planet to start spreading the message of what they know. Too bad that won't happen because everyone just cares about money and nothing else. I guarantee you church's, mosque's, synagogue, and temples are way emptier than what they used to be decades ago. Why , because the evil thoughts are escalating into evil doing more than ever and our Lord doesn't want evil doing or thoughts in His house. earth is his house that we rent from him and we are destroying it so he will destroy it even more and soon or later he will built a new house for us but only for good people. Bad people will be in heavens jail if you will. You just never know. I just hope we wake up one day and realize that we have to start doing more good and thinking less evil. God is there for you, you don't have to go to church to be in his hands just pray for yourself, family, and everybody else. Pray forth bad people too because they need your help to go to heaven. Hope this letter met everybody with good health and I hope I did not offend anyone with my letter. It is time to switch this world around an hopefully God understand and appreciates our efforts. Thank you

    September 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Amy

    idiot!

    September 3, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      PS: meant for Tony.

      September 3, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buck

      I didn't even want to read all of that. You just wasted a bunch of space!!

      September 3, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Amy

    We love you guys! New Zealand and New Zealanders rock!! Our hearts are with you. Wishing you quick recovery. Stay safe!

    September 3, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. stephen hudson

    Dunedin is just fine, i slept thru it ... christchurch is built on shist and has had it's ground liquify under it ... as to disaster relief ,i think you americans should worry about new orleans, 5 years on it still looks like it hasn't recieved a zack in aid ...and if you have a spare sawbuck send it to pakistan

    September 3, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Smith

    To bad – was going there for a holiday but changed my mind know :(

    September 4, 2010 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. maryfitzpatrick

    hope all enderwicks are safe mary in belfast

    September 4, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. iin

    my heart goes to all the affected people in NZ..

    September 4, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. vivek

    i wish newzealanders stay safe and protected with God's Hands!

    September 4, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
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