Earthquake strikes near New Zealand capital, no immediate damage reported

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck near New Zealand’s capital Wellington on Monday, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians walk across a road in front of the New Zealand parliament building known as the Beehive in central Wellington, New Zealand, July 3, 2017. Picture taken July 3, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray

The earthquake was 37 kms deep and the epicentre was 30 km northwest of Levin, a city in New Zealand’s North Island close to Wellington, according to Geonet.

It was followed by a 3.5-magnitude quake, then one of 3.6, then 3.7.

Geonet first classified the earthquake as magnitude 5.9.

Emergency services in Wellington City said there were no immediate reports of damage. All trains in Wellington were suspended while engineers assessed the impact, the city’s Metlink service said on Twitter.

A Reuters witness felt strong shaking in Wellington. Emergency officials said there were no immediate reports of damage.

Several residents reported strong shaking.

“Not what we need right now…,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said in a Tweet.

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 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 Wellington.

Reporting by Praveen Menon; editing by Grant McCool

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