Unusual Quake Near Norfolk Island

A moderately strong earthquake struck south of Norfolk Island this morning.

Thursday 25th February 2010

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake struck 250 km south-west of Norfolk Island (900 km south of Noumea, New Caledonia) at two minutes before 1 o’clock this morning, New Zealand Daylight Time. The quake was 35 km deep according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Geoscience Australia reports the quake as magnitude 5.2 at a depth of 5 km. They estimate that the quake would have caused damage within 16 km of the epicentre, and would have been felt up to 200 km away.

This earthquake is unusual in that it is of a moderate magnitude and has occurred some distance away from a plate boundary where earthquakes normally occur. USGS records show that this is only the third earthquake in the area since 1990. Two quakes, one of magnitude 4 and another of magnitude 5 have been logged very close to this morning’s epicentre during that time.

[Compiled from data supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey and Geoscience Australia and their contributing agencies.]

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