First story takes us to the South Pacific nation of New Zealand, where a powerful earthquake jolted the country's south island just after midnight on Monday. A little more than a million people live in the south island and though earthquakes are common in New Zealand, they're not usually this powerful.
This was a magnitude 7.8 quake, a major one, capable of causing significant damage. Its epicenter was about 30 miles northeast of the city of Christchurch, home to 340,000 people. But the quake was estimated to have hit about 14 miles deep and the buffer between the quake itself and the earth surface might have kept things from being worse.
New Zealand's building code aims to make structure strong enough to get through tremors. But especially in an island nation, the quake itself is only part of the problem.
You're hearing tsunami sirens, urgent warnings telling people who live anywhere near the coast to get to high ground, waves that were eight feet higher than the country's usual tide levels were reported early on, a local meteorologist said it was the highest tsunami the country has seen in 38 years. By Monday morning, the threat had eased and people at high risks areas were told they could go back home.
Still, there were a number of aftershocks, some strong enough to cause further damage. The nation's prime minister said at least two people have been killed, but more deaths were feared. New Zealand is located on the Pacific Ocean's Ring of Fire — a horseshoe-shaped belt where a lot of the earth's volcanic and earthquake activity takes place.