New Zealand Hit by 6.3 Magnitude Earthquake

January 21, 2014

An earthquake in New Zealand on Monday shook loose a giant eagle sculpture promoting “The Hobbit” movie trilogy and caused other minor damage around the region.

The magnitude 6.3 quake struck the country’s lower North Island at a little before 4 p.m. and rattled the capital Wellington. Many residents of the city were at home because it was a public holiday.

According to AIR Worldwide, damage to homes and their contents, power outages, rail service suspension road closures and a chemical spill were reported. Nearly 30 aftershocks have been reported, most of which were less than M4.0. Nearest the epicenter—in Palmerston North and environs as well as Masterson where strong shaking was felt—there were reports of damage to houses and their contents, including chimneys down and broken, windows broken, fences toppled, and items fallen off shelves and walls.

The eagle sculpture in the Wellington Airport was placed there in recent months to promote director Peter Jackson’s second movie in his popular trilogy. It fell from its overhead perch to the floor.

The United States Geological Survey estimated the quake was centered about 38 kilometers (24 miles) northeast of the town of Masterton at a depth of 27 kilometers (17 miles).

New Zealand lies on the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire,” an arc of earthquake and volcanic activity that stretches around the Pacific Rim.

An earthquake in the city of Christchurch in 2011 destroyed much of the downtown and killed 185 people.

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