The South Island in New Zealand was jolted on Monday by a severe earthquake that shocked the locals but resulted in no casualties or substantial property damage.
The tremor, whose intensity was measured at 5.8 on the Richter scale, primarily affected the towns of Queenstown and Wanaka and its epicentre was established at five kilometres under the Treble Cone ski field.
According to GeoNet, the earthquake was severe and felt by hundreds of local residents.
Following the seismic activity, businesses were evacuated but the aftershocks weren’t strong enough and no signs of significant property damage were detected.
Some feared an avalanche on the ski fields, but New Zealand Ski general manager Craig Douglas eased those worries by explaining there isn’t much snow due to it still being very early in the season. Hence, there is no chance of a post-quake snowslide. He said:
There’s virtually no snow on the ski slopes at the moment
Meanwhile, there were a few broken bottles at a supermarket but it wasn’t significant enough to cause a closure.
Similarly, a bar named the local Four Square also had a few bottles to fall down from the shelves but duty manager Papi Cooper said it was the extent of their loss. Their customers were visibly shaken by the ordeal though. Cooper said:
We had a lot of people from Christchurch [in the shop] and they are quite shaken up.
Queenstown Lakes District Council communications manager Michelle Poole reported that some houses lost their windows, but that was it. She added:
The important thing is there have been no reports of injury of structural damage.
While the tremor may have been uneventful, it was enough to alert the entire country. Mind you, New Zealand is still reeling from the devastating 2011 Christchurch earthquake that claimed 185 lives and incurred property damage worth $40 billion.