North Island shaken by earthquakes in Whanganui and Ruatoria

The North Island has been rocked by two earthquakes that sent thousands flocking online to report the tremors - but Civil Defence says it may have been a "ghost quake".

Just after 8pm on Wednesday evening a 4.7 magnitude quake struck 5km north of Whanganui. At a depth of 96km, more than 260 people had reported feeling 'moderate' shaking on GeoNet less than 10 minutes after the quake. Thousands more said it was light or weak.

Most of the reports came from the west coast of the North Island, with scattered reports as far as Nelson.

Just a minute earlier a magnitude 5 earthquake was recorded 670km north-east of Whakatane. More than 5500 people reported tremors in the minutes following the 10km-deep quake, many in the same areas as the Whanganui quake, yet GeoNet has listed it as an "unnoticeable" earthquake.

Civil Defence says their Ruatoria Area Commander didn't feel anything.

"Looks like a ghost quake from an earthquake around the Kermadecs that was reported around the same time," a spokesperson says.

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, who is in the country to perform her new stage show An Evening with Nigella Lawson, certainly felt a quake, taking to Twitter to quote a relevant Carole King song.

Some remarked the UK author and TV star had experienced a "proper Wellington welcome".


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