WELLINGTON: A magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck near Milford Sound in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island on Thursday (Jun 25), government seismic monitor Geonet said.
Thousands of people in the area reported on Geonet to have felt the earthquake, which was very shallow at a depth of 5km, but there were no immediate reports of damages.
Shaking was felt throughout lower South Island in areas including Queenstown, Wanaka, Te Anau, Alexandra and Dunedin.
It was followed by further smaller magnitude earthquakes.
“We certainly felt it. We’ve got cars out the front here and they were just rolling around in the car park there,” Helen Archer, a resident of Te Anau township, told the New Zealand Herald.
“It was just rolling. The two of us here feel a bit car-sick or sea-sick still.”
The spectacular Milford Sound on the west coast of the South Island was carved out by ancient glaciers and features towering mountains, waterfalls, and rare marine habitats.
New Zealand lies on the seismically active “Ring of Fire”, a 40,000-km arc of volcanoes and ocean trenches girdling much of the Pacific Ocean.
The city of Christchurch, also in the South Island, is still recovering from a 6.3-magnitude quake in 2011 that killed 185 people.
In 2016, a 7.8-magnitude tremor hit the South Island town of Kaikoura, killing two and causing billions of dollars worth of damage, including in the capital of Wellington.