Source AP ©

New Zealand faces earthquakes

Three earthquakes, one magnitude 5.4, took place in central New Zealand within six hours early Monday but there were no immediate reports of injury or damage.

A 5.4 magnitude quake struck at 1:25 a.m. Monday (1325 GMT Sunday) and was located 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of the city of Nelson on South Island at a depth of 90 kilometers (56 miles) into the earth, geological agency GNS Science reported on its web site.

More than four hours later, at 5:45 a.m. (1745 GMT Sunday), a magnitude 4.1 earthquake struck 30 kilometers (19 miles) northwest of Murchison on South Island's west coast, some 5 kilometers (3 miles) below the earth's surface.

A third earthquake of magnitude 4.2 struck 10 kilometers (6 miles) southwest of the west coast city of New Plymouth on North Island at 6:43 a.m. (1843 GMT Sunday).

The tremblor occurred 10 kilometers (6 miles) below the surface and was felt by residents in the Taranaki area.

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.