A viral video on social media showed that the first tsunami waves to hit Tokomaru Bay in New Zealand after earthquakes rocked the area on Thursday, March 4. A magnitude of 8.1 quake forced thousands of people in the country to evacuate.
The earth tremor triggered tsunami warnings across the world on Friday, March 5. However, it did not cause injuries or major damages because it struck in a remote ocean, reported local news outlets.
The Viral Video
According to the New Zealand Herald, Claudia Maaka shared the video of the tsunami waves on the northeast end of the country at around 11:30 am. The same video was posted by the Waiapu Civil Defence, which is the branch of emergency management.
The woman who shared the bone-chilling video told local media outlet 1 News that watching the tsunami waves was "surreal."
The 8.1 magnitude quake was the largest in a series of tremors that hit the region. Two more quakes registered magnitude 7.4 and magnitude 7.3.
The series of earthquakes triggered warning systems and caused traffic jams in New Zealand. People in the region also scrambled to get to the higher ground.
The largest shake was noticed almost 1,000 kilometers off the coast of New Zealand. One of the earlier earthquakes hit much closer to the country and awoke many people as they felt a long and rumbling shaking.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wrote on Facebook: "Hope everyone is ok out there."
The civil defense authorities told people in some coastal areas after the largest quake to immediately get to higher ground, as there was a possibility of property damage and waves could reach up to three meters.
Emergency Management Minister Kiri Allan said: "They felt the long or strong earthquakes, and they knew to grab their bag and head into the highlands. I can only thank and acknowledge the tireless efforts of the men and women from up and down the coast who knew how to act, when to act, and what to do."
As reported, the US Tsunami Warning System also cautioned the quake could cause tsunami waves of up to three meters in Vanuatu and up to one meter in Australia, Fiji, French Polynesia and as far away as Peru and Mexico.
The National Emergency Management Agency officials in New Zealand said around 1.30 pm on Friday that the largest waves had already passed and the threat level was downgraded to a beach and marine threat.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake was centered near the remote Kermadec Islands at a depth of 19 kilometers. The quake appeared at the intersection of Australia and Pacific tectonic plates.
The interaction between the tectonic plates creates one of the most seismically active regions in the world, said the USGS. The agency also noted that over the past century it has recorded 215 quakes there above magnitude 6.0.