Medium quake strikes south of New Zealand

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake shook the southwest of South Island early Monday, but there were no immediate reports of injury or damage, emergency services said.

Geological and Nuclear Sciences said the quake occurred at 2:27 a.m. local time (1327 GMT Sunday) below the Pacific Ocean, 420 kilometers (260 miles) southwest of the southern city of Invercargill.

The tremblor's epicenter was 33 kilometers (21 miles) below the earth's surface, the agency said. The quake was felt by residents on sparsely populated Stewart Island off the coast of South Island but there were no reports of damage.

New Zealand sits above an area of the earth's crust where two tectonic plates are colliding and records more than 14,000 earthquakes a year, but only about 150 are felt by residents. Fewer than 10 a year do any damage, AP reports.

A. A.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team