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Posts Tagged ‘Palmerston North’

Severe Quake Rattles Lower North Island, NZ

Posted by feww on January 20, 2014

EARTHQUAKE HAZARD
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M6.2  strikes near Palmerston North, New Zealand

The quake was felt thoroughout New Zealand’s North Island, from Invercargill to Auckland, and as far south as Canterbury in the South Island, according to local reports.

The mainshock was followed by a swarm of aftershocks, with the largest measuring 3.7Mw, as of posting.

The quakes have caused damage to buildings and roads in the lower North Island between Wellington and Manawatu, said reports.

The quake was felt widely in the capital Wellington, leaving “people screaming and ducking for cover as items fell from shelves,” in a shopping mall, said a report.

The shock knocked power to thousands of customers  in Tararua, Manawatu and Taranaki, according to the local power company.

NZ 20jan2014
Earthquake Location Map. Source: USGS/EHP

Earthquake Details [USGS/EHP]

  • Event Time: 2014-01-20 @ 02:52:45 UTC
  • Location: 40.634°S 175.776°E depth=28.0km (17.4mi)
  • Nearby Cities
    • 34km (21mi) SSE of Palmerston North, New Zealand
    • 37km (23mi) NNE of Masterton, New Zealand
    • 42km (26mi) E of Levin, New Zealand
    • 71km (44mi) ENE of Paraparaumu, New Zealand
    • 111km (69mi) NE of Wellington, New Zealand

Tectonic Summary

The January 20, 2014 M6.2 earthquake northeast of Masterton in the North Island of New Zealand is located approximately 115 km northeast of Wellington. The earthquake resulted from northeast-southwest oriented normal faulting 175 km to the west of the Hikurangi Trench, where the Pacific plate subducts westward beneath the North Island. At the latitude of this event, the Pacific plate moves towards the west-southwest with respect to the Australia plate at a rate of approximately 42 mm/yr. The faulting character, location and depth of this earthquake indicate it is an intraplate event either within Australia plate crust above the subducting Pacific plate, or within the interior of subducted Pacific slab, rather than a plate boundary event on the subduction zone thrust interface.

New Zealand experiences fairly frequent moderate-sized earthquakes; the region within 200 km of the January 20, 2014 event has experienced 35 earthquakes of M 5.5 or larger over the past century. The 2014 event is just a few kilometers to the east of a M 7.3 earthquake in March of 1934, and approximately 40 km southwest of two M6.2 and 6.4 earthquakes near Dannevirke in March and May of 1990, respectively. The 1990 events did not cause significant damage or fatalities. —USGS/EHP

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