Earthquake in New Zealand: strong enough to be felt

Six small earthquakes in the space of an hour have struck central parts of New Zealand. The earthquakes were felt in the capital Wellington and Marlborough, but police said they received no reports of damage. "There is nothing surprising about these at all. This is an area where we get them quite frequently," seismologist Warwick Smith told Reuters. The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences said the larger tremor, measuring 5.0 on the open-ended Richter Scale, struck at 9:25 a.m. This was surrounded by five other smaller quakes, measuring three to four on the Richter scale, Smith said. The were centred around 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Blenheim, in the winemaking province of Marlborough at the northern end of the South Island. New Zealand scientists record around 10,000 earthquakes a year, of which around 200 are strong enough to be felt.