As I said in a post over a month ago, it looks like Earth’s crust is in for a creaky time about now.
Here’s hoping there are few casualties. The quake hit at 4.20am local time. All the best to those on South Island.
The BBC has this:
A 7.2-magnitude earthquake has struck off New Zealand’s South Island, the US Geological Survey has said.
The epicentre was 30km (20 miles) north-west of Christchurch, at a depth of 16.1 km (10 miles), it added.
A local newspaper reported widespread damage and power cuts. Christchurch is New Zealand’s third largest city with a population of about 340,000.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was a risk of a tsunami along coasts within 100km of the epicentre.
New Zealand lies at the southern end of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of active and dormant volcanoes stretching along the eastern edge of Asia, north across the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, and south along the coast of North and South America.
The earthquake struck at 0435 on Saturday local time (1635 GMT on Friday), the USGS said, when most people would have been asleep.
The local newspaper, The Press, said it was felt widely across the South Island, including Christchurch and the nearby port city of Timaru, and that there were several aftershocks.
Police said damage and power outages had been reported as far afield as Dunedin, 360km (223miles) to the south-west