Seddon people listening to a scientist explain the constant earthquakes that are shaking the tiny Marlborough town dropped to the floor when a magnitude 4 tremor struck tonight.
There was a silent pause as the ground began to rumble, then some of the 200 people present dropped to the floor and others looked for tables to shelter under.
Nervous laughter and chatter erupted once the quake was over.
The 4.0 quake, with a depth of 16km, hit at 7.31pm during GNS Science seismologist Matt Gerstenberger's presentation in the Awatere Rugby Club rooms.
He said there had been 392 quakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher since Friday in the Marlborough-Wellington region, compared to fewer than 300 in the past 10 years.
A video of quake activity and aftershocks using colour blocks was played twice following requests from the crowd. Sunday's magnitude 6.5 quake drew gasps from the audience as the colour red representing the quake exploded on the screen.
The top 10 highest magnitude quakes occurred between Friday and Tuesday, ranging from magnitude 6.5 on Sunday to 4.8, with depths between 20 kilometres and 13km.
There was a 29 per cent probability of another quake magnitude 6.0 and higher in the next 10 years, Gerstenberger said.
Sunday's 6.5 quake was not unexpected.
"We know this is an active area," he said. "I think we have to be prepared. We live in New Zealand. We live in an active country."
- © Fairfax NZ News