I copied this from Fox News.
A strong magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck close to New Zealand's second-largest city of Christchurch early Saturday local time, wreaking havoc on older buildings and roads, damaging water
pipes and power lines, and leading to an airport
There were no immediate reports of injuries, however, despite the wide reports of collapsed buildings and severed power lines that revealed the power of the quake. The USGS did not warn of the threat of tsunamis, a common after-effect of an earthquake.
The quake hit at 4.35am Saturday morning local time, just 35 miles (55 km) northwest of Christchurch, on New Zealand's South Island, at a depth
of seven miles. Initial reports placed it at 7.4 magnitude, though the USGS revised it down to 7.0. Christchurch is New Zealand's second-largest city with a population of about 342,000 people, and New Zealand's National Radio
reports the temblor shook thousands of residents awake.
Christchurch police reported road damage and power outages in parts
of the city, with a series of sharp aftershocks rocking the area, the according to the Associated Press. In response, police officers cordoned off some streets where rubble was strewn about from the quake.
Christchurch International Airport
was closed after the quake as a precaution, as experts prepared to check the runways and airport terminals for debris and damage, a spokesman said.
Christchurch resident Colleen Simpson said panicked residents ran into the street in their pajamas. Some buildings had collapsed, there was no power, and the mobile telephone network had failed.
"Oh my God. There is a row of shops completely demolished right in front of me," Simpson told the news website stuff.co.nz.
Shaken residents told how they cowered under doorways as the earth moved violently for what seemed as long as a minute. Kevin O'Hanlon described the jolt as extremely powerful.
"I was awake to go to work
and then just heard this massive noise
and 'boom,' it was like the house got hit. It just started shaking. I've never felt anything like it," he told Stuff.
The damage extended to suburbs and communities across South Island, shutting down the entire railway system while officials inspected it for damage. Grant Shimmin, a resident of Temuka, 90 miles (145 km) south of Christchurch, said the quake seemed to go on for as long as a a minute.
"It sounded like some objects were falling around the house, although we've not found anything broken," he said.
"My daughters ... were both woken quickly and called out, obviously feeling pretty scared, and we huddled under doorways."
A resident of Otago, a region in the island's south, added: "Our house was moving from side to side and the movements were pretty big."
sits above an area of the Earth's crust where two tectonic plates collide. The country records more than 14,000 earthquakes a year -- but only about 150 are felt by residents. Fewer than 10 a year do any damage.
Although the nearby population tends to live in quake-susceptible structures, the last two major earthquakes did not result in any casualties, the USGS said. A magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck Cape Campbell, New Zealand, on January 18, 1977, and a magnitude 6.1 temblor hit Cass, New Zealand, on November 24, 1995.
"No destructive widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical earthquake and tsunami data," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.