A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck about 105 miles off the New Zealand coast near Gisborne, the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday. Residents of the Tologa Bay area have been asked to evacuate their homes and move to higher ground, but as of now, no injuries have been reported.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has not issued a Pacific-wide tsunami warning in response to the quake. However, USGS geophysicist John Bellini said that a “very small” tsunami has hit the northern coast of New Zealand.
According to the USGS, the eastern margin of the Australia plate — where the earthquake hit — is one of the most seismically active on Earth. As the BBC reports, over 15,000 earthquakes are recorded in New Zealand each year, “but only about 150 are large enough to be felt.”
The quake occurred at 4:37 a.m. local time (16:37 GMT) at a depth of 19.1 miles. It could be felt in Auckland, hundreds of miles away from the epicenter, according to Auckland-based journalist Aroha Hathaway. Some residents in the surrounding areas tweeted that it was the longest earthquake they’d ever felt: