Strongest quake yet hits in Turangi swarm
The earthquake swarm hitting Turangi delivered its biggest shock yet yesterday, with a magnitude 4.5 shake felt all over the North Island.
The jolt was followed in quick succession by two smaller quakes, but GNS vulcanologist Natalia Deligne said there was no cause for concern, as long as the earthquakes’ location did not move towards a volcanic area.
‘‘It’s an area that receives quite a few swarms. This swarm has been going on for a few weeks, and this one was certainly the largest in the sequence, so far,’’ she said.
‘‘In this area, there has been five earthquakes since 2009 that were above a magnitude 4, so this is high for the area.’’
Deligne said the largest quakes in a swarm could come at any point.
GeoNet has been tracking the ‘‘earthquake swarm’’ affecting the North Island township of Turangi since February 13, although Deligne said this duration was not unusually long.
Yesterday’s quake happened just before 1pm. It was sited 10 kilometres north-west of Turangi at a depth of 5km.
Reports of the shaking to GeoNet came in from across the North Island, with scattered accounts from the South Island as well.
GNS vulcanologist Brad Scott said the swarm had been quiet for 10 days before it picked up yesterday.
‘‘We’ve had swarms that have gone on for years in the worst cases. This is normal, run-of-the-mill. It is also well outside the active volcano areas. It’s probably 30km away from any volcano.’’
According to GNS, more than 800 quakes had hit the area, with yesterday’s shake being the latest in a stream of shocks.