5.5 earthquake felt in New Zealand, no damage recorded

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A 5.5-magnitude earthquake has been widely felt on New Zealand's North Island, though no major damage or injuries were reported.

The epicenter was relatively deep at 110 kilometers (68 miles). That lessens the surface impact, though such quakes tend to be felt over a broader area.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the temblor struck at 12:42 p.m. Wednesday about 62 kilometers (38 miles) south of Rotorua. A sharp jolt was felt as far away as Wellington, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) south. Politicians noted it on Twitter while some workers took shelter under their desks.

New Zealand sits on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. A February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch killed 185 people and destroyed much of the downtown. (AP)

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