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Magnitude-5.6 earthquake jolts New Zealand's South Island; no initial reports of major damage


WANAKA, New Zealand — A magnitude-5.6 earthquake jolted the South Island of New Zealand Monday afternoon, but there were no initial reports of major damage or injuries.

The United States Geological Survey put the center of the temblor at 30 kilometers (19 miles) northwest of the town of Wanaka.

New Zealand police issued a statement saying that people had reported some instances of broken windows but no major damage. Residents across the South Island reported feeling the quake as a strong, sharp rattle.

Fairfax Media reported tourist attraction Puzzling World was evacuated because of the quake. The attraction includes a large maze and rooms of illusion.

USGS said the quake struck at about 2:30 p.m. at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles). Shallow quakes tend to be more strongly felt.

Wanaka is home to about 6,500 people. It is popular with tourists, offering nearby skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.

New Zealand is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

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