A powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck 19 miles west of Christchurch, New Zealand, the largest city on South Island, early Saturday.
The inital shocks hit at about 4:35 a.m. local time, waking many residents and sending them scrambling for safety in the dark.
The initial jolt caused widespread damage and was followed by several powerful aftershocks. So far, there have been reports of injuries, including two serious ones, but no deaths.
Local authorities have closed off parts of Christchurch, citing dangerous conditions and looting.
Many residents shared their stories and images from the area on Twitter, providing some of the first images of the disaster. For those residents left without power, Twitter became a lifeline, providing a way to contact friends and relatives and find out all the latest news.
Click ahead to see the images they shared.
By: Christina Cheddar-Berk, Florence Zaitoun and Matt Carbone
Posted 3 September 2010