Quake shuts Christchurch airport
WELLINGTON, 23 December 2011: The earthquake-devastated New Zealand city of Christchurch was rocked by a powerful 5.8 magnitude tremor Friday forcing evacuations from buildings, residents said.
New Zealand’s second largest city was hit by a 6.3-magnitude quake last February, killing 181 people and destroying much of the downtown area.
Government seismologists measured the latest shake at magnitude 5.8 and said it struck at 1:58pm (0058 GMT) eight km (five miles) deep.
Shopping malls were vacated and Television New Zealand said the international airport was shut down.
Telephone services and electricity supplies were disrupted but police said there were no immediate reports of structural damage.
Scientists warned last month of an increased probability that another powerful earthquake would hit Christchurch.
New Zealand sits on the so-called “Ring of Fire” the boundary of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, and experiences up to 15,000 tremors a year.
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