POSTED: 07:19 a.m. HST, May 22, 2011
WELLINGTON, New Zealand >> The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 6.1 earthquake has struck near a group of South Pacific islands. There are no reports of damage or risk of tsunami.
A statement by the USGS says the quake struck Sunday 12 miles under the Kermadec Islands, a New Zealand group with no permanent population that lies 620 miles east of the city of Auckland.
New Zealand has been shaken by a series of quakes and aftershocks since the city of Christchurch was devastated by a temblor on Feb. 22 that killed 181 people.
New Zealand sits above an area where two tectonic plates collide. The country records more than 14,000 earthquakes a year — but only about 150 are felt by residents, and fewer than 10 a year do any damage.
A small U.S. religious group had predicted that Judgement Day would begin a day earlier, on Saturday, with an earthquake in New Zealand.