New quake alert system flawed

Last updated 10:20 20/09/2012

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Teething problems with a new earthquake alert system means false earthquake alerts are being sent out, before the precise location can be pinpointed, say GNS science.

Geonet, which monitors all earthquake activity under crown research institute GNS science, has been operating a brand new, fully automated alert system for the past few weeks.

A spokesman said they were working to iron out a few "teething problems", which saw earthquake alerts being sent out immediately a shake was felt.

"The problem with that though, is it takes a bit of time to pinpoint exactly where a quake was centred and how big and deep it was."

GNS said an alert sent out earlier today, which said there was a 5.6 quake off the west coast of Auckland, had actually combined data from a 2.6 quake in Oxford, near Christchurch, and a much larger one up near the Kermadec Islands.

An earlier alert detailing a 6.4 quake, just 83 km deep and 75 km west of Opunake in Taranaki was also incorrect, said GNS.

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- Fairfax Media


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