Earthquakes rattle central North Island

A seismograph image from Geonet from near the epicentre.
A seismograph image from Geonet from near the epicentre.

A swarm of earthquakes within minutes of each other rattled the central North Island this afternoon.

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According to GeoNet, the first quake struck at 2.01pm and was magnitude 5.2. It was centred 25km north-east of Porangahau, Hawke's Bay, at a depth of 42km.

Goods fell from some shop shelves in Waipukurau, where Sergeant Ross Gilbert, who has been stationed in the town for the past twelve years, said the quake "was one of the biggest I've felt".

"It was a goodie. We've had a few minor ones in the last few days. Usually we get the rolling sort. This was a shorty sharp shake," he said.

Staff spoken to at the town's New World supermarket said a few items had fallen from shelves "but it wasn't too bad at all given the shake".

Minutes later a second quake struck at 2.03pm 5km north of Waipukurau. It was 16km deep and magnitude 3.5.

A third quake, magnitude 4.0, centered in eastern Tararua struck at 2.05pm. It was centred 20km north-east of Porangahau and was at a depth of 36km.

Several more small quakes followed.

They were reported to be felt through Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Wellington and Marlborough regions.

There was no immediate reports of any damage, but Twitter lit up with shaken people reporting the quake.

Brand new, expensive, bloody driveway. Cracked. Thank you very much #eqnz

— Elpie (@elpie) March 31, 2014


Wasn't big here in #Whanganui but still felt that earthquake. Do not like. #eqnz

— Marianne Archibald (@MArchibald) March 31, 2014


A couple of things fallen down and door stuck shut (the same door I was attempting to get out of) #eqnz

— Kirstin W (@tortenz) March 31, 2014

GNS Science duty seismologist Lara Bland said there was nothing to indicate a larger quake was on the way for the area.

The number of aftershocks was normal following a magnitude 5.2 quake, she said.

"This is quite standard as it was a 5.2 and it will generate a few aftershocks.

"Those should drop off in the next two to three days."

The quakes were a reminder people should always remain alert and prepared, she said.

"It's a good chance to check all your kits and supplies.

In the event of a larger quake, people should also be mindful of tsunami risk as it is quite a coastal area, she said.

Manawatu Standard