'Rumble, rumble' - Magnitude 4.8 earthquake felt by thousands in central New Zealand

Shaking has been felt by thousands of people across the lower North Island and the upper South Island after a magnitude 4.8 earthquake struck about 100km north-east of Nelson this afternoon.

Earthquake felt map, 10 km east of French Pass, Friday, March 12, 2021. Source: GeoNet

The earthquake registered as "moderate" by GeoNet, was centred 5km east of the French Pass at a depth of 61km.

It struck at 3.32pm, GeoNet reported.

As of 3.50pm, more than 12,000 people reported feeling the quake on GeoNet. Most reports came from across the regions of Nelson, Wellington, Manawatū-Whanganui and Tarakani.

Another magnitude 4.1 earthquake followed at 3.53pm, 10km east of the French Pass at a depth of 54km. 

As of 4pm, more than 1300 people, mostly around Wellington and Nelson, reported feeling it on GeoNet.

Many reported feeling "moderate", “light” or “weak" shaking for both earthquakes.

One Twitter user in Wellington said: "Cat unpeturbed by #eqnz so can’t have been that bad."

Another in Nelson tweeted: "Rumble, rumble, then creak, creak in #Nelson region."