Series of earthquakes hits Christchurch, New Zealand


Cyclists leap over a damaged section of path on Feb. 24, 2011 after a 6.3 earthquake devastated the city of Christchurch, New Zealand on Feb. 22.


Torsten Blackwood

A series of earthquakes has hit Christchurch, New Zealand, the city devastated by an earthquake earlier this year, according to reports.

(GlobalPost reports: Many dead, hundreds trapped after earthquake hits New Zealand)

According to the Sydney Morning Herald early Friday, a 5.8-magnitude quake struck at 1.58 p.m. local time, causing buildings to sway and sending Christmas shoppers scurrying.

Minutes later, according to The Guardian, a 5.3-magnitude aftershock. "About an hour after that, the city was shaken by another 5.8-magnitude temblor. Both aftershocks were less than 3 miles deep."

And, according to the New Zealand Herald

Christchurch residents are being warned to brace themselves for more aftershocks tonight and into the Christmas holiday period.

No casualties or damage had yet been reported, said Vince Cholewa, spokesman for the New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, CNN reported.

The quake took place 16 miles east-northeast of Christchurch just before 2 p.m. Friday at a depth of 2.92 miles, according to CNN, adding that a smaller, 5.3-magnitude temblor followed eight minutes later.

A quake in February killed more than 150 people in Christchurch, the biggest on the South Island of New Zealand. Scientists blamed its shallow depth for its destructiveness. The quake registering a magnitude of only 6.3.

A much more powerful — and deeper — 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck that nation last September near the same area but caused no deaths, according to e! Science News.