On Monday, a powerful earthquake struck New Zealand, an island nation located off the southeastern coast of Australia. The magnitude 7.8 quake resulted in two deaths. It also triggered landslides and damaged roads, cutting off some areas and trapping thousands of residents.
People weren’t the only ones stranded. A helicopter flying over the devastation captured footage of three cows huddled on top of a small plateau of land. They’d shockingly managed to survive as the earthquake caused hillside around them to crumble.
On Shaky Ground
The earthquake’s epicenter—the point on Earth's surface directly above where an earthquake strikes—was located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) outside of Christchurch. In 2011, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake destroyed a large portion of this town and killed 185 people. Even though the recent earthquake was about 50 to 60 times stronger, it was far enough away that Christchurch suffered little damage.
The earthquake caused hundreds of aftershocks, or smaller earthquakes. The largest measured a magnitude 6.4. Ripples from the main quake extended into the ocean, unleashing tsunamis. These large ocean waves reached a height of about 2 meters (6.5 feet) along some parts of New Zealand’s coast.
Near the town of Kaikoura (KAH-koh-rah), along New Zealand’s southern coast, hundreds of people were cut off from surrounding areas after roads cracked apart. Helicopters and planes have been evacuating people living in the region.
The stranded cows were also discovered near Kaikoura. They too have been led to safety. A group of people dug a path for the animals to make their way down the side of the plateau, which stood an estimated 6 m (20 ft) tall. While efforts are being made to rescue other animals affected by the quake, officials say helping people is the top priority.