Kermadec Quakes Continue

Earthquake activity in the Kermadec Islands has continued following Tuesday’s magnitude 6.8 quake, with four events of magnitude 4.7 or greater.

After the magnitude 6.8 quake, earthquake activity rippled along plate boundaries in the south-western Pacific, as mentioned in a separate article on Wild Land. This activity has continued, with magnitude 6.0 events near Vanuatu on the morning of the 10th of December 2008, and in the Santa Cruz Islands on the morning of Thursday 11th, New Zealand time.

In the Kermadec Islands, a magnitude 4.7 quake was recorded just before midnight on Wednesday December 10th. The 300 km-deep event was located closer to New Zealand, being centred 105 km east-south-east of L’Esperance Rock (870 km north-east of Auckland).

The following morning a magnitude 4.8 earthquake struck to the north. The 10 km-deep event was located 220 km south-south-east of Raoul Island (225 km east-north-east of L’Esperance Rock). Activity then eased until a pair of shallow quakes struck close-together overnight.

Just before midnight Friday, a magnitude 5.1 quake struck 200 km east of L’Esperance Rock at a depth of 10km. This was quickly followed by another magnitude 5.1 event at 5 minutes to 1 o’clock Saturday morning; located 195 km east of L’Esperance Rock, also at a depth of 10 km.

All of the Kermadec events have occurred at differing levels within the Pacific Plate, close to the subduction zone east of the Kermadec Island chain. At this location, the Pacific Plate is subducting (sliding under) the Tonga Microplate, a defined section on the edge of the Australian Plate running between the eastern North Island of New Zealand and Samoa.

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

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