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New Zealand Escapes Major Damage From Quake Off North Island

New Zealanders reported little damage after the North Island was shaken late yesterday by the largest earthquake since the first of a series of devastating temblors that struck Christchurch in late 2010.

The magnitude 7 earthquake was centered about 60 kilometers (37 miles) off the east coast of Taranaki province and was 230 kilometers deep, according to New Zealand’s GeoNet service. The U.S. Geological Service, which uses different models and measuring points, assessed it at magnitude 6.2.

Residents throughout the central North Island and in parts of the South Island felt the temblor, which struck at 10:36 p.m. Chimneys were damaged in the town of Waverley and small items fell off the shelves in a supermarket in Wellington, about 170 kilometers southwest from the quake’s center, reported. Train delays were also reported in the capital as tracks were inspected for damage.

Darfield, east of the South Island city of Christchurch, was struck by a 7.1 quake on Sept. 4, 2010, that was just 10 kilometers deep and caused widespread property damage. Less than six months later the city was hit by a closer quake that collapsed buildings and killed 185 people.

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