Monday, 2 November 2015

Magnitude 5.4 Earthquake beneath central North Island, New Zealand.

The GeoNet project, which monitors quakes in New Zealand, recorded a Magnitude 5.4 Earthquake at a depth of 39 km in the central part of North Island, slightly after 6.40 pm local time (slightly after 5.40 am GMT) on Monday 1 November 2015. There are no reports of any damage or injuries associated with this event, though it was felt locally.

The approximate location of the 1 November 2015 North Island Earthquake. Google Maps.

New Zealand is located on the boundary beneath the Australian and Pacific Plates. Beneath the islands the Pacific Plate is being subducted beneath the Australian Plate. This causes a great deal of friction which causes Earthquakes where the boundary between the two plates is close to the surface; this is to the east of North Island, but onshore on South Island, where it can lead to strong Earthquakes such as the ones felt in Christchurch recently. Technically such quakes also occur where the plate margin is deeper, but these are felt less strongly as the rocks between the boundary and the surface absorb much of the energy, making strong tremors much less frequent on North Island. As the Pacific Plate sinks deeper into the Earth it is partially melted by the friction and the heat of the planet's interior. Some of the melted material then rises through the overlying Australian Plate, fueling the volcanoes of New Zealand.

The subduction zone beneath New Zealand, and how if fuels Earthquakes and volcanos. Te Ara.

Witness reports of Earthquakes can help scientists to understand these events, and the underlying geologic processes that cause them. If you felt either of these quakes then you can report it to the GeoNet here.

See also...

The GeoNet project, which monitors quakes in New Zealand, recorded a Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake at a depth of 5 km in the Southern Alps to the northwest of...

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Nineteen homes near Lyttelton Port, roughly 5 km southeast of Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island, have been evacuated after a landslide breached a storage tank containing aviation fuel and dented a second container, at about 2 pm local time...

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