‘Significant damage’ reported after New Zealand quake

Posted: September 3, 2010 in Uncategorized
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CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — A strong earthquake hit near New Zealand’s second-largest city, Christchurch, early Saturday. Authorities reported extensive damage across the city but said so far only minor injuries were being reported.

The quake, which was recorded at 4:35 a.m. (1:35 p.m. Friday ET), registered 7.0 on the Richter scale, the U.S. Geological Survey said in Washington. It revised its initial forecast of a moderate impact and was projecting potentially “very heavy damage” in some areas of the city.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no immediate danger of a Pacific tsunami.

Radio New Zealand reported that power and water services were out across the city. Christchurch Airport was closed, and rail service was shut down across the south island. Several bridges were impassable.

At 6 a.m. (2 p.m. ET Friday), the national government said numerous aftershocks had followed the earthquake, which it described as “a big one.” It said that more aftershocks were expected and that it would decide soon whether to activate its National Crisis Center.

Hundreds of residents posted reports of damage and aftershocks on Twitter.com, and some posted pictures of damage on Web photo services.

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