A 5.8 magnitude earthquake has been felt in parts of New Zealand over night with authorities saying more than 44,000 people reported they felt the tremor.
Geological hazard information for New Zealand (GeoNet) said that at about 9:07pm local time last night a strong shaking was felt 30km north-east of French Pass.
“You might have felt that shake! Caused by a M5.8 earthquake in the Marlborough region. It was moderately deep and felt over a wide area – typical of earthquakes of this size and depth,” they said.
The earthquake hit at a depth of 51km and rattled most places in the top of the South Island and bottom of the North Island.
According to GeoNet, 44,548 people reported feeling the earthquake with majority of reports only experiencing a light or weak tremor.
However 44 people reported feeling an extreme shake, with 35 experiencing a severe shake and 866 strong. No damage or fatalities have been reported.
French Pass resident Jude Sonneland told Radio New Zealand that she was watching TV when the earthquake hit.
“There was a sudden really big jolt like a truck had hit the house and then some shaking which gradually eased off but it felt like a big earthquake.
“We’ve got neighbours ringing around to make sure everyone’s OK. We’re all concerned about the slips – are they going to move again. There’s a bit of anxiety out there.”
The 5.8 magnitude earthquake is the biggest this year in New Zealand.
Recently the alert level for a volcano below Lake Taupo was risen to Level 1 from 0 after GeoNet reported more than 700 small earthquakes. It now sits at a level of minor volcanic unrest.
Earthquakes have been a common occurrence in recent times with Mexico having just experienced a 7.6 magnitude earthquake that saw one person killed.