South Pacific Earthquakes

A burst of moderately strong earthquake activity has struck the South Pacific area, with five events during the past day.

Sunday 11th April 2010

Five moderately strong earthquakes have struck the South Pacific during the past day.

The activity began with a magnitude 5.1 earthquake located 1275 km south-east of Easter Island at 5:07 p.m. Saturday. The quake was 10 km deep.

A magnitude 5.1 quake struck the West Chile Rise at 6:30 p.m. This quake, also 10 km deep, was located 1245 km south-west of Juan Fernandez Island (1860 west-south-west of Santiago, Chile.)

A deep magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the Fiji region at 4:54 this morning. The quake, which was 275 km deep, was located 265 km east-north-east of Ndoi Island, Fiji, 155 km north-west of Nuku’Alofa, Tonga.

At 2:19 this afternoon, a magnitude 5.3 earthquake struck the Santa Cruz Islands. This earthquake was located 260 km south-south-east of Lata in the Santa Cruz Islands (290 km north-north-west of Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu) at a depth of 35 km. Geoscience Australia reports this quake as magnitude 6.0 at a depth of 18 km.

The most recent event struck the Southern East Pacific Rise 4665 km south-south-east of Papeete, Tahiti at a depth of 10 km. The magnitude 5.0 quake occurred near the Tharp Fracture Zone close to the undersea spreading zone where the Pacific and Antarctic tectonic plates are being forced apart by new material being forced up from below.

On Thursday, two quakes of magnitude 4.8 and 5.0 were recorded north of Raoul Island in the Kermadec Islands. During the past week, magnitude five earthquakes have also occurred at other South Pacific locations near Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Chile and off the coast of Ecuador.

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

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