4 Dec 2011

5.7 quake gives centre of country the shakes

6:16 am on 4 December 2011

A widely felt earthquake in Cook Strait on Saturday night frightened thousands of residents throughout the top of the South Island and the lower North Island.

GNS Science says the 5.7 quake, which struck at 7.19pm, was centred 30 kilometres east of Picton at a depth of 60 kilometres.

It shook the top of the South Island, with Blenheim and Picton feeling it strongly, and the lower part of the North Island. It was felt as far north as Whanganui.

Windows were broken at the Meridian building on Wellington's waterfront, and an eighth-floor central-city apartment resident says books flew out of a bookcase.

There were no reports of serious damage in Blenheim and Picton

but the senior station officer of the Blenheim Fire Service, Grant Flynn, says the station was jolted quite badly.

He says the quake started with a loud rumble, making them think it was a train going past, but soon became a vigorous shake.

Mr Flynn says he can now understand what Christchurch has been going through.