Series of Earthquakes off New Zealand

Series of strong to very strong earthquakes out of the New Zealand North Island coast

Last update: November 18, 2011 at 11:03 am by By 

Earthquake overview :  3 earthquakes have struck 100 km out of the New Zealand East Cape coast. The earthquakes were largely observed by people on the East Cape.  The earthquake was felt as far as Rotorua.

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To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).


Isoseismal map – image courtesy Geonet GNS Science

Update Historic powerful earthquakes in the same area :
Same distance from the coast : M 7.0 and M 6.6 in 1995
Close to the coast : M 6.7 in 1914 and M 6.3 in 1956 

Update : According to the USGS, who has reported an epicenter closer to the coast, the following theoretical MMI numbers could be expected : 213 MMI V, 6,000 MMI IV, 288,000 MMI II and III. These numbers are contradicted by the Geonet reported numbers and the registered shaking values. The current experience, like so many other experiences in the past, are showing the importance of a tight seismograph network. Especially epicenter location and depth have often even bigger error margins than officially reported in their data sets.

Update : There was NEVER a tsunami risk

Update : The earthquake has been felt as far as Rotorua

Update : Reports from New Zealanders reveal a max. MMI IV (light shaking). Although the numbers are looking very strong, only 26 people have reported the earthquake to Geonet. Both other earthquakes were only felt by very few people. MMI IV in New Zealand gets the notion : largely observed

Update : The epicenter is on top of a subduction slope in front of the coast. The subduction slope are in fact 2 tectonic plates gliding below each other. The damaging Christchurch earthquake was triggered by the same tectonic movements.

Update We do NOT expect the M 6.1 earthquake to be damaging because of the depth of the hypocenter and the distance out of the coast.

Update : We have initiated this article after the 3th quake, the 6.1 magnitude earthquake.

Update : New Zealand GNS Science reports magnitudes of 5.3, 5.8 and 6.1 at depths of 12, 33 and 40 km. GNS Science data for New Zealand will be more precise than any other seismological agency in the world because of the many instruments they have installed all over New Zealand.

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