Magnitude 6.5 Quake Off New Zealand Coast Rattles Wellington

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the eastern coast of New Zealand, rattling the capital city of Wellington and causing minor damage and power cuts.

The earthquake hit at 5:09 p.m. local time Sunday, 57 kilometers (35 miles) south-southwest of Wellington, at a depth of 14 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said. There were no reports of injuries or significant damage, Sky News said.

The earthquake, initially reported at a magnitude of 6.9, was unlikely to cause any tsunami threat, the Ministry of Civil Defense & Emergency Management said in an e-mail. It follows a magnitude 5.7 temblor on July 19 that shook office towers and sent workers diving under desks in Wellington.

“Police are working closely with civil defense and other emergency services as we assess the impact,” said Acting Wellington District Commander Superintendent Sue Schwalger in a statement. There will be “disruption to train services” and “road closures in the central business district,” she said.

New Zealanders are particularly wary of earthquakes after 185 people died in Christchurch two years ago, when a magnitude 6.3 shake largely destroyed the center of the city. The nation sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a belt of volcanic and quake activity.

Reports of damage ranged from broken windows to water leaks, according to the New Zealand Herald. TVNZ also said four people were hospitalized with minor injuries and that two had been discharged.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney at jpaton4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Vercoe at pvercoe@bloomberg.net

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