Strong earthquake rocks New Zealand, cliffs collapse
Sunday, February 14, 2016, 6:52 AM - A strong earthquake struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch Sunday, rattling the country's South Island and causing cliffs to collapse.
As yet, no deaths or major injuries have been reported from the quake, which was rated Magnitude 5.8 by the United States Geological Survey (M5.7 by New Zealand's Geonet agency), striking at a relatively shallow depth of 8 km (Geonet reports 15 km).
Social media was flooded with video of clouds of dust in the air as the strong shaking caused some cliffs to collapse, triggering evacuations. Some liquefaction was reported in some areas, and the shaking was felt throughout the region.
"Obviously with a 5.7 magnitude earthquake so close to the eastern coast of Christchurch its certainly been a big shock for the city, a set back in terms of people's confidence and feeling of security," Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel told Reuters.
Though no major injuries seem to have resulted, a number of close calls were reported for people who were on or near the scenic seaside cliffs.
Adam Bull, who was riding his bike when the quake struck, said containers at the bottom of some of the cliffs protected him from falling rocks.
"We looked up and just saw all these rocks just coming down so we biked as fast as we can out of there and stopped at the end, looked back and the rest of the cliff at the other end of Sumner was coming down," he told StuffNZ.
One couple out for a Valentine's Day picnic was forced to scramble to safety as the cliff they were on began to collapse.
"You just heard all the cliffs give way around us, never sprinted so quickly in my life!" Emma Russell told Stuff.
The latest quake comes almost five years after a Magnitude 6.5 quake struck the city, killing 185 people and causing major damage.
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