A 7.4 magnitude earthquake has hit off the coast of New Zealand.
The huge quake comes just hours after the region was hit earlier by a 7.3 magnitude quake.
Dr Stephen Hicks, seismologist at Imperial College, tweeted: “Just a few hours after the M7.3 earthquake off the N. island of New Zealand earlier, now there is a M7.4 quake 900 km to the north.
“Did the M7.3 trigger the M7.4?
“Maybe, but unlikely & hard to tell. Both though are related to subduction of the Pacific plate beneath the Aus plate.
“*If* the M7.3 NZ quake did increase the stress on the fault that ruptured to the north during the M7.4 event, then the amount of stress would have been pretty tiny and it hints that the M7.4 fault was already very close to failure anyway. ->
“Much more scientific analysis required.”
This is a breaking story…more to follow