A Restless Night at Tarawera

Some residents of Lake Tarawera and Okareka had a restless night on Sunday when a swarm of ten small and very shallow earthquakes rattled houses around 11 p.m. One resident reports a nervy and restless dog which settled down after the largest of the quakes struck.

The earthquakes were clustered on the southern shore of Lake Tarawera, to the west of Lake Rotomahana. The area is known as the Waimangu Block State Forest and is close to the site of the Pink and White Terraces which were destroyed in the Tarawera eruption of 1886.

The quake activity began at 10:42 p.m. on the evening of Sunday the 31st of August 2008, finishing just over half an hour later at 11:16 p.m. GeoNet has analysed four of the events, reporting two magnitude 2.4 quakes 25 seconds apart at 10:45 p.m. followed by the largest member of the swarm, a magnitude 3.5 quake at 10:50 p.m. Another magnitude 2.4 quake was recorded at 10:56. The four quakes were at depths between 0.6 and 5 km.

One Tarawera resident describes the larger events as “two little shudders followed by a good shaker.”

The largest quake in the swarm attracted 22 felt reports from the public on the GeoNet website and was felt as far away as Rotorua and Te Puke. Lake Okareka residents were most vocal, placing 8 reports.

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

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