Pacific Earthquakes

Yesterday’s earthquake south of the Kermadec Islands was the latest in a series of light to strong quakes both north and south of New Zealand during the past week.

Earthquake activity in the Solomon Sea and Coral Sea has eased following the intense activity subsequent to the great quake of April 2nd.

However, earthquake activity in the South Pacific to the north of New Zealand has increased, as has activity in the Southern Ocean. During the past week there have been 19 earthquakes of magnitude 4 or greater in this area.

There have been five events of magnitude 4 or 5 near Tonga, two at shallow depths, and three deeper. Three quakes with magnitudes 4 or 5 have been reported near Fiji, two at shallow depths, one deep. Four events near the Loyalty Islands had magnitudes of 4 or 5, all at shallow depths. One deep magnitude 5 event was recorded near Vanuatu.

A magnitude 6.1 quake was reported in the Southern East Pacific Rise near the boundary of the Pacific and Antarctic Plates on April 13th, New Zealand time. This area marks the zone where the two plates are moving apart as new material rises from underneath.

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake struck 290 km south-west of Raoul Island in the Kermadecs on April 13th at a depth of 540 km. It was followed by a magnitude 5.3 quake at a depth of 385 km, 355 km south of Raoul on April 17th.

To the south of New Zealand, three earthquakes have been reported in the Southern Ocean. Two very shallow quakes with magnitudes of 6.0 and 5.8 were reported near the Balleny Islands on the 13th and 16th. A larger event of magnitude 6.4 at a depth of 10 km was reported west of Macquarie Island on April 17th, New Zealand time.

Closer to home, Geonet earthquake reports indicate that swarm activity near Matata has reduced slightly. They report that the largest local event of the past week was a magnitude 5.3 quake located 90 km north-east of White Island at a depth of 160 km on April 13th.

[Compiled from data supplied by the US Geological Survey and its contributing agencies.]

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