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A large 6.5 earthquake rattles Kapiti
21 July

Kapiti was rattled, along with the rest of the region, by a 6.8 earthquake just after 5pm tonight.

Aftershocks were continuing after the shake, with a 5.5 magnitude hitting within minutes.

The 6.8 shake struck at 5.09pm at a depth of 11km, 30km east of Seddon. Shakes are continuing in the capital and the earthquake was felt as far away as New Plymouh, Hamilton and Christchurch.

A fire service spokeswoman said the phone had been ringing off the hook, with power lines down, people trapped in lifts and multiple sprinkler activations in city buildings.

"We've had reports of damage to some buildings down town. We've got power lines that are coming down."

Every fire truck had been sent to jobs, she said: "We've got all of Wellington out now. And we've got jobs waiting to be addressed. We are prioritising jobs."

Central New Zealand has been shaken throughout the day with a swarm of quakes including this evening's 6.8 event.

The majority of the quakes have been centred in the same area off Seddon, Marlborough, that was hit on Friday by a 5.7. This morning's first quake - 4.2 - struck at 7.04, was at a 10km depth and centred 35km east of Seddon.

It was followed 13 minutes later by the 5.8 shake that was centred 30km east of Seddon at a depth of 19km and then at 7.20 by a 4.3km shake at a depth of 14km and 25km east of Seddon, while a fourth - 4.3 - rattled the region from a depth of 22km at 7.30.

There have been over 30 earthquakes in the same area in total so far this morning with the latest bigger ones being 4.5 magnitude at 9.28am, 5.1 at 10.55am and 4.6 at 12.21pm.

Geonet duty seismologist Dr Anna Kaiser said it's expected they would continue.

"It's quite common to get a shock reaching about four (on the richter scale) before a larger one, like we had before the 5.8 this morning.

"It's also normal to get a series of threes and fours afterwards and about every two minutes or so is common.''

GeoNet's website also crashed this morning due to a high demand from people wanting to see where earthquakes have struck.

The run of earthquakes are a reminder that Wellington is a seismic active area and everyone should always be prepared, she said.

"These quakes this morning are very close to the subduction interface, which is the boundary between the Pacific and Australian plate."

The aftershocks this morning have ranged from 2.5 to 4.1 - all centred in the same region. While Geonet initially reported quakes in other areas in both islands, it appears they were erroneous recordings sparked by the other quakes.

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KC News: the Internet Newspaper for the Kapiti Coast