Large quake alert incorrect

23:31, Sep 19 2012

A large earthquake reported off the coast of Opunake this morning was one of several incorrect alerts sent out by a faulty system.

Teething problems with a new earthquake alert system meant false alerts were being sent out before the precise location could be pinpointed, GNS science said.

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.

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

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