INTERNATIONAL: 2 dead in powerful New Zealand earthquakes

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Fissures run along a road by the Centre Port in Wellington, Monday, November 14 after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand's south Island early in the morning.

Fissures run along a road by the Centre Port in Wellington, Monday, November 14 after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand’s south Island early in the morning.

CNN – A series of powerful earthquakes jolted New Zealand’s South Island Monday, triggering a tsunami and sending aftershocks across the country that left at least two dead, officials said.

The first event, a 7.8-magnitude quake, struck just after midnight Monday near the coastal community of Kaikoura, some 93 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of the city of Christchurch, the US Geological Survey reported.

It triggered waves of 2.49 meters (8 feet) above usual tide levels, the highest he has seen in his 38 years in New Zealand, Philip Duncan of Weather Watch New Zealand said.

An initial tsunami warning was lifted but temblors continued Monday afternoon. A 6.2-magnitude quake struck around 1:30 p.m. 39 kilometers west-southwest of Kaikoura, further north of Christchurch.

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