Updated: 01/20/2014 12:11 | By Agence France-Presse

Strong 6.3-quake jolts New Zealand: USGS

A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake rattled New Zealand Monday, swaying buildings and spilling goods from shelves, but authorities said there were no immediate reports of major damage.


Strong 6.3-quake jolts New Zealand: USGS

A view of Wellington from Mount Victoria Lookout, on September 15, 2011 - by Peter Parks

The quake, which struck at 3:52pm (0252 GMT), was centred in the North Island about 115 kilometres (71 miles) northeast of the capital Wellington, according to the US Geological Survey.

The tremor hit at a depth of 27 kilometres and was widely felt throughout the North and South islands. It was followed by a series of smaller aftershocks.

New Zealand is on the boundary of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, forming part of the so-called "Ring of Fire", and experiences up to 15,000 tremors a year.

A devastating 6.3-magnitude temblor in the South Island city of Christchurch in 2011 killed 185 people -- one of the tiny nation's deadliest disasters of the modern era. 

Wellington was the scene of the country's most powerful earthquake in 1855.

That devastating 8.2-magnitude quake caused four deaths and changed the city's entire geography, pushing the shoreline out 200 metres (660 feet) as it thrust the harbour floor upwards.

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