A 7.4 magnitude earthquake has hit off the coast of New Zealand. The huge quake comes just hours after the region was hit earlier by a 7.3 magnitude quake. A tsunami alert has been issued up to 300km of the epicentre of the earthquake. This comes just hours after the island was hit by another quake six hours earlier.
Dr Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at Imperial College, tweeted: “Just a few hours after the M7.3 earthquake off the N. island of New Zealand earlier, now there is a M7.4 quake 900 km to the north.
“Did the M7.3 trigger the M7.4?
“Maybe, but unlikely & hard to tell. Both though are related to subduction of the Pacific plate beneath the Aus plate.
“*If* the M7.3 NZ quake did increase the stress on the fault that ruptured to the north during the M7.4 event, then the amount of stress would have been pretty tiny and it hints that the M7.4 fault was already very close to failure anyway. ->
“Much more scientific analysis required.”
A tsunami alert has been issued for the Kermadec Islands.
According to a statement by the National Weather Service: “Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters… hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300km of the earthquake epicentre.
“Hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible within 300km of the epicentre along the coasts of Kermadec Islands.”
This second earthquake comes just six hours after the Civil Defence told anyone unable to get to a higher point to move as far inland as possible amid tsunami fears following a 7.3 earthquake.
The earthquake hit at 2.27am local time on Friday morning (1.27pm on Thursday in the UK).
The country’s Civil Defence body, the National Emergency Management Agency, issued an alert urging people living in coastal communities to move to higher ground.
They said: “We are assessing whether the M7.3 EAST OF THE NORTH ISLAND NEW ZEALAND earthquake at 2021-03-05 2:27 AM has created a tsunami that could affect New Zealand.
“We will provide an update as soon as the initial assessment has been completed.
“Anyone near the coast who felt a LONG or STRONG quake should MOVE IMMEDIATELY to the nearest high ground, or as far inland as you can.
“People near the coast from CAPE RUNAWAY to TOLAGA BAY should MOVE IMMEDIATELY to the nearest high ground, out of tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible.
“Do not return until an official all-clear message is given by Civil Defence.”
The National Emergency Management Agency issued a statement following the first quake.
They said: “Strong currents and surges can injure and drown people.
“People in or near the sea in these areas should move out of the water, off beaches and shore areas and away from harbours, rivers and estuaries.”
This is a breaking story…more to follow