Moderate Quake Near Matata

A moderately strong earthquake struck near Matata in the Bay of Plenty this morning.

Sunday 22nd March 2009

A moderately strong, deep earthquake struck 10 km north of the Bay of Plenty town of Matata this morning. The magnitude 5.8 quake, which struck at 9:28 a.m., was located 20 km north of Edgecumbe (30 km north-west of Whakatane) at a depth of 160 km.

Within an hour of the quake, more than 200 reports had been filed with GeoNet by members of the public, indicating that the event was widely felt in the North Island. The quake was strongly felt in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, and as far south as Kaiapoi in Canterbury.

Matata has been plagued by a swarm of shallow earthquakes during the past few years. The tremors have been associated with shallow faultlines reacting to the stretching of the volcanic plateau as the East Cape area moves south-eastward away from the Coromandel Peninsula. This movement is occurring in tiny increments over a long period of time.

This morning’s earthquake, whilst directly below the site of the earthquake swarm, is not directly associated with the swarm tremors. It occurred deep within the descending slab of Pacific Plate material as it is drawn underneath the North Island.

[Compiled from data provided by the GeoNet project and its sponsors EQC, GNS Science and FRST.]

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