Earthquakes in New Zealand
Earthquakes in New Zealand are due to the country being part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is geologically active. About 20,000 earthquakes, most of them minor, are recorded each year. About 200 of these are strong enough to be felt. As a result, New Zealand has very stringent building regulations.
Most earthquakes in New Zealand occur along the main ranges running from Fiordland in the southwest to East Cape in the northeast. This axis follows the boundary between the Indo-Australian and Pacific plates. Large earthquakes are less common along the central Alpine Fault, where the plates are not subducting and the forces are accommodated in different ways.
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New Zealand is sometimes nicknamed the Shaky Isles. Quite early on, European settlers were faced with the reality of earthquakes in their new home. On 26 May 1840, the new settlement at Port Nicholson was struck by the first of a number of earthquakes and tremors.
The New Zealand Earthquake Commission (EQC) provides public education to much of the country. As outlined in its statement of intent it hopes to provide "public education about seismic hazards and methods of reducing or preventing seismic disaster damage." The EQC sponsors exhibitions on seismic hazards in the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, and is responsible for social marketing campaigns. An extensive advertising campaign by the EQC across New Zealand's main television networks ran from June 2005 to June 2006. The adverts outlined the risks earthquakes pose to New Zealand and measures households can take to "Quake Safe their house." The slogan used throughout EQC Quake Safe campaigns is "Fix. Fasten. Forget." Additionally in October 2006 many households received free "EQ-IQ" fridge magnets from the EQC.
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Early settlers learned fairly quickly the importance of using appropriate building methods in an earthquake-prone country. The 1848 earthquake, centred in Marlborough, caused great damage to the brick and masonry buildings in Wellington, and the city was rebuilt mainly in wood; consequently it suffered comparatively little damage in the 8.2 magnitude earthquake of 1855, which lifted the land 2–3m. After the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake many buildings in Hastings and Napier were completely levelled. New building regulations meant that any new buildings constructed afterwards in Hastings and Napier must be no taller than 5 stories. As a result, both cities have suffered no major damage in other earthquakes that have struck the region.
|Date||Location||Region||Magnitude (ML)||Magnitude (Mw)||Depth||Latitude||Longitude||Fatalities||Further information|
|8 July 1843||Toaroa Junction||Manawatu||7.6||7.6||12 km||39.59°S||176.20°E||2||1843 Wanganui earthquake|
|16 Oct 1848||Blenheim||Marlborough||7.4||7.8||12 km||41.89°S||173.60°E||3||1848 Marlborough earthquake|
|23 Jan 1855||Lake Wairarapa||Wairarapa||8.2||8.2||33 km||41.198°S||175.20°E||9||1855 Wairarapa earthquake|
|5 Jun 1869||Christchurch||Canterbury||5.7||1869 Christchurch earthquake|
|1 Sep 1888||Lewis Pass||North Canterbury||7.0||7.1||12 km||42.59°S||172.55°E||1888 North Canterbury earthquake|
|16 Nov 1901||Cheviot||North Canterbury||6.8||12 km||42.74°S||173.35°E||1||1901 Cheviot earthquake|
|9 Mar 1929||Arthur's Pass||Canterbury||7.0||12 km||42.83°S||171.83°E||1929 Arthur's Pass earthquake|
|17 Jun 1929||Murchison||West Coast||7.3||7.8||20 km||41.69°S||172.20°E||17||1929 Murchison earthquake|
|3 Feb 1931||North of Napier||Hawke's Bay||7.4||7.8||20 km||39.29°S||177.00°E||256||1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake|
|5 Mar 1934||Pahiatua||Manawatu||7.2||12 km||40.54°S||176.29°E||2||1934 Pahiatua earthquake|
|24 Jun 1942||Masterton||Wairarapa||6.5||12 km||40.95°S||175.68°E||June 1942 Wairarapa earthquake|
|1 Aug 1942||Masterton||Wairarapa||6.8||40 km||41.01°S||175.51°E||1||August 1942 Wairarapa earthquake|
|24 May 1968||Inangahua Junction||West Coast||6.7||7.1||12 km||41.75°S||172.04°E||2||1968 Inangahua earthquake|
|2 Mar 1987||Edgecumbe||Bay of Plenty||6.1||6.5||10 km||37.88°S||176.80°E||1987 Edgecumbe earthquake|
|20 Dec 2007||Gisborne||East Cape||6.7||6.6||44 km||38.89°S||178.44°E||2007 Gisborne earthquake|
|15 Jul 2009||Dusky Sound||Southland||7.8||12 km||45.76°S||166.58°E||2009 Fiordland earthquake|
|4 Sep 2010||Darfield||Canterbury||7.1||7.2||10 km||43.52°S||172.16°E||2010 Canterbury earthquake|
|22 Feb 2011||Christchurch||Canterbury||6.3||6.2||5.9 km||43.58°S||172.67E||185||February 2011 Christchurch earthquake|
|13 Jun 2011||Christchurch||Canterbury||6.4||6.0||6.9 km||43.56°S||172.73°E||1||June 2011 Christchurch earthquake|
|3 Jul 2012||South Taranaki Bight||Taranaki||7.1||6.3||229 km||40.00°S||173.75°E||2012 Opunake earthquake|
|21 Jul 2013||Cook Strait||Wellington Marlborough||6.5||6.5||17 km||41.61°S||174.33°E||2013 Cook Strait earthquake|
|16 Aug 2013||Lake Grassmere||Marlborough||6.6||6.5||8 km||41.73°S||174.15°E||2013 Lake Grassmere earthquake|
- Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010
- List of New Zealand disasters by death toll
- Volcanism in New Zealand
- Radio NZ news report on 2007 Gisborne earthquake
- Earthquakes: The Short Story, Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
- "New Zealand's land and environment"Ministry for the Environment
- Dench, p 57
- EQC Statement of Intent  EQC Statement of Intent
- "EQC Annual Report 2006-2007"EQC Annual Report 2006-2007
- "EQC Annual Report 2005-2012 EQC Annual Report 2005-2006
- McSaveney, Eileen 'Earthquakes', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 21-Sep-2007
- GeoNet. "M 8.2, Wairarapa, January 23, 1855". Retrieved 26 December 2011.
- McSaveney, M.J., Graham, I.J., Begg, J.G., Beu, A.G., Hull, A.G., Kyeong, K. & Zondervan, A. 2006. Late Holocene uplift of beach ridges at Turakirae Head, south Wellington coast, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics abstracts, 49, 337-358.
- Rodgers, D.W.; Little T.A. (2006). "World's largest coseismic strike-slip offset: The 1855 rupture of the Wairarapa Fault, New Zealand, and implications for displacement/length scaling of continental earthquakes". Journal of Geophysical Research 111 (B12408). Bibcode:2006JGRB..11112408R. doi:10.1029/2005JB004065.
- McSaveney, Eileen (2 Mar 2009). "Story: Historic earthquakes Page 3 – The 1855 Wairarapa earthquake". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
- "New Zealand earthquake report - Sep 4 2010 at 4:35 am (NZST)". GeoNet. 4 September 2010. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
- "List of deceased - Christchurch earthquake". New Zealand Police. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- Dench, Alison (2005); Essential Dates: A Timeline of New Zealand History (Auckland, Random House) ISBN 1-86941-689-9
- Eiby, G. A. (1957); Earthquakes (London, Frederick Muller) Page 159 has Table of (16) Major Earthquakes in New Zealand 1848-1942, from R. C. Hayes.
- Henderson, J (1937); The West Nelson Earthquakes of 1929, Bulletin No. 55 of Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (Wellington, Government Printer)
- Geonet: NZ's geological hazard monitoring system
- GNS Science: NZ Government research site
- Historic earthquakes in New Zealand
- Map of 'Earthquakes in New Zealand', compiled from the list above.