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Multiple earthquakes hits off coast of New Zealand in hours, tsunami warning issued

Last Updated Mar 4, 2021 at 5:57 pm EDT

(iStock Photo)

Tsunami threat posted after 8.1 magnitude earthquake hits off coast of New Zealand

Four significant earthquakes have hit off the coast of New Zealand within hours of each other Friday

AUCKLAND (NEWS 1130) – A number of significant earthquakes struck off the coast of New Zealand within several hours of each other Friday morning.

Another seismic event was reported by the U.S. Geological Survey just before 9:30 a.m., local time. This is the third earthquake to hit near the Kermadec Islands — about 178 kilometres northeast of Gisborne — Friday morning.

The magnitude 6.5 earthquake was the fourth overall near New Zealand within hours of each other.

About an hour before, around 8:30 a.m., a magnitude 8.1 quake was reported near the Kermadec Islands.

The first significant earthquake to hit the region Friday morning was reported just before 2:30 a.m., also near the Kermadec Island. A second, 7.4 magnitude earthquake followed just about four hours later, though it was located about 1,000 kilometres from the country’s North Island.

New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency says a tsunami warning is in place following the third seismic event. People along sections of the northeast coast are being asked to move to higher ground or as far inland as possible immediately.

“People in all other areas who felt a LONG or STRONG earthquake should MOVE IMMEDIATELY to the nearest high ground, out of tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible,” a tweet reads. “People evacuating should walk, run or cycle if possible to reduce chance of getting stuck in traffic. Do not return until all-clear is given by Civil Defence.”

On Feb. 22, 2011, 185 people were killed when a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit Christchurch. Much of the city’s downtown area was destroyed.

This is a developing story. Check back for the latest.