EQNZ Strong Quake Felt in South Island – Molesworth Station Inland from Kaikoura. Aftershocks Expected

kaikoura earthquake 9 feb

The Kahutara drum near Kaikoura airport

There’s been another earthquake near Kaikoura today. The 5.7 quake 35 km SE of St Arnaud, was relatively shallow at depth of 48 km.

Kaikoura was rocked by a ‘severe’ quake in April 2015. That was a 6.2, centred 35 km SE of St Arnaud, 52 Km deep.

However, today’s quake is likely to cause more disruption because it occurred in peak tourist season at a time when many Chinese visitors are in New Zealand for the New Year. It happened almost 5 years since the Christchurch earthquake in which 185 people died and from which the city never recovered.

Duty seismologist Anna Kaiser said people could expect aftershocks up to magnitude 4.7 from today’s Kaikoura quake. Christchurch has had over 14,000 earthquakes since they started in September 2010 and they’re still going on with at least 2 every day.

Quake was “quite intense” in Kaikoura

Kaikoura Top Spot Backpackers manager Noah Taylor said the quake was “intense”. It was the first quake some of the guests had ever felt, and they were visibly shaken. “Some of them were quite passive at first, but others were definitely scared. We assembled in the middle of the backpackers and waited for it to stop.” source.

More than 2000 people, from Dunedin to Auckland, reported feeling the quake to GNS Science. The organisation said on its website the strongest shaking was felt in Kaikoura, according to its “felt reports”.

Tsunami Risk

Large tsunamis, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, are most frequently caused by earthquakes on plate boundaries where subduction takes place. Kaikoura District Council recently advised residents to be “prepared, not scared” for tsunami.

That is the message coming from the Kaikoura District Council’s emergency management officer following the release of a new report which shows Kaikoura could be at risk of a tsunami following an earthquake in the Cook Strait or off the North Island’s east coast.

Kd Scattergood said the events mentioned in NIWA’s latest tsunami modelling report had a low probability but a very high impact…

However, the chances of a tsunami occurring after today’s quake today are low.

Hikurangi subduction zone

The Hikurangi subduction zone is a major plate tectonic boundary and passes through much of Marlborough

The report, commissioned by Environment Canterbury (ECan), concentrated on potential flooding risk for three scenarios; a Hikurangi Subduction Zone earthquake off the east coast of the North Island/upper South Island, a Wairarapa Fault earthquake in Cook Strait, and a combined scenario where both faults move at the same time…

“It’s really important for everyone in Kaikoura to remember that the fire siren is not the tsunami warning siren.

“Never wait to be told to go to higher ground. Know where your evacuation route is and be prepared to move up and stay up. Read more

If you’re intending to visit Kaikoura, or any other high risk area in New Zealand, our advice is to know what the local sirens sound like and what to do in the event of an earthquake or tsunami.


3 thoughts on “EQNZ Strong Quake Felt in South Island – Molesworth Station Inland from Kaikoura. Aftershocks Expected

  1. Occasionally there are minor earthquakes here in SE Australia where I live, the house shakes and the furniture rattles, then it’s all over. I can only image the alarm felt by Kiwis, “Is this another Christchurch?”

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