Strong quake shakes New Zealand’s North Island

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Screengrab from http://earthquake.usgs.gov

WELLINGTON—A strong earthquake of 6.3 magnitude shook the North Island of New Zealand on Saturday, the US Geological Survey reported, but there were no reports of any damage.

The quake at 7:19am (1819 GMT Friday) was centred 175 kilometers  deep about 200 kilometers south of Auckland and was felt through much of the country.

New Zealand’s official GeoNet recorded the quake at a lower 5.8 magnitude and said it was the strongest in a swarm of 24 tremors in the North Island over a seven-hour period.

A shallow 6.3-magnitude quake devastated New Zealand’s second largest city of Christchurch in February last year, leaving 185 people dead.

The sparsely populated country sits on the so-called “Ring of Fire”, the boundary of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, and experiences up to 15,000 tremors a year.

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