Wellington Scoop

Quake was 6.6, not 6.2 – trains stopped, but no damage and no injuries

It was felt throughout Wellington at 2.31 this afternoon. And GeoNet has now revised the strength of the quake. First reported as 6.2, it is now confirmed as having been 6.6. No wonder that it caused such alarm, which continued because of a series of aftershocks, three of them reported as 6.2.

Intensity: severe
Depth: 8 km
Magnitude: 6.6
Location: 10 km south-east of Seddon

The Fire Service received no calls involving serious damage to buildings or property in the city. But fire appliances responded to many automatic alarms that were triggered in the central city area and to calls reporting people trapped in lifts.

Wellington Police confirmed there were no reports of significant damage, but said there were incidents involving broken glass. A number of people had been freed from lifts in the CBD.

Lukes Lane, closed after the earlier big quake, was closed again this afternoon. Also closed today: Chews Lane, off Manners Street, because of falling glass.

Wellington Airport undertook a full runway and navigational aid inspection as part of standard operating procedure after this afternoon’s big quake. The runway was cleared for operation by 2:52pm.

It was a different story, however, with commuter trains. Tranz Metro stopped all its trains in and out of Wellington – till further notice, with no buses provided – while it checked the tracks.


As a result, main roads reported heavy traffic heading out of Wellington. (Photo from Twitter by Dom Petrus). The Transport Agency was checking all its highways, bridges and tunnels.

Wellington buses continued to run but they were delayed by the congestion.

Te Papa and the City Gallery closed early. Reading Cinemas closed for the rest of the day. Circa cancelled tonight’s performance of The Price. Toi Whakaari cancelled a performance of a play with an earthquake theme.

Victoria University closed its campuses.

Telecom closed all its key Wellington buildings, and sent staff home early. It said there were no delays to calls though there was severe congestion. Calls usually routed through the Wellington callcentre were diverted to Christchurch.

Chorus also closed its Wellington buildings and sent staff home early. It said it was evaluating the impact to its network infrastructure but there were no early indications of widespread damage.

A jazz concert in the St James was interrupted, and the audience and performers left the theatre.

Westfield Queensgate was closed and structural checks were being carried out. The shopping mall expected to reopen tomorrow. At Coastlands, PacNSave reopened after being closed briefly.

Then there were the aftershocks:

At 2.37:

Intensity: severe
Depth: 8 km
Magnitude: 5.7
Location: 5 km south-east of Seddon

And at 2.45:

Intensity: severe
Depth: 7 km
Magnitude: 5.4
Location: 15 km south-east of Seddon

And at 2.51

Intensity: severe
Depth: 6 km
Magnitude: 4.9
Location: 10 km south of Seddon

And many more, including …

At 3.51
Intensity: severe
Depth: 19 km
Magnitude: 5.6
Location: 10 km east of Seddon

At 4.03
Intensity: strong
Depth: 5 km
Magnitude: 4.4
Location: 15 km east of Seddon

At 5.29
Intensity: severe
Depth: 11 km
Magnitude: 6.2
Location: 20 km south-west of Seddon

At 5.30
Intensity: severe
Depth: 24 km
Magnitude: 6.2
Location: 20 km east of Picton

At 5.31
Intensity: severe
Depth: 5 km
Magnitude: 6.2
Location: 25 km east of Seddon


At 5.37
Intensity: strong
Depth: 10 km
Magnitude: 4.6
Location: 15 km north of Wellington

At 5.41
Intensity: strong
Depth: 5 km
Magnitude: 4.1
Location: 30 km south of Wellington

In the South Island, two bridges on State Highway One near Blenheim have been extensively damaged by the quake, and there are rock falls on the road – it has been closed from Seddon to Kaikoura. Elsewhere in Marlborough, the Fire Service received over 20 calls from people reporting fallen chimneys, three grass fires were sparked by fallen power lines in the Seddon area, and near Ward there was a report of a house fallen slightly on its piles.