Earthquake swarm near Turangi continues, New Zealand

Earthquake swarm near Turangi continues, New Zealand

A swarm of small earthquakes west of Turangi-Waihi-Pukawa-Omori area in New Zealand (Taupo Volcanic Zone) is shaking the region since Monday, February 13, 2017, and the number of earthquakes has increased on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

To date, GeoNet has recorded and located a total of 879 earthquakes in this swarm. However, the swarm activity has increased on Wednesday with 249 locatable earthquakes occurring.

"The pulse of activity has included 6 earthquakes larger than M3, ranging from M3.0 to 3.5 in size with depths in the 5 - 8 km (3.1 - 4.8 miles) range. The larger events came towards the start of the pulse in the last day and less events and smaller ones have occurred overnight," GeoNet volcanologist Brad Scott reports.

"The number of events per day is variable, typical of swarms," Scott said. The events are occurring at depths between about 4 and 10 km [2.5 and 6.2 miles] and most are in the 5 - 8 km depth range, he added.

The Taupo Volcanic Zone is a rifting area, growing wider each year by 6 - 9 mm (0.24 - 0.35 inches). These earthquakes are located on the western boundary and are likely to be related to the long-term ‘tectonic’ stretching of the Zone. Currently, there are no indications that the earthquakes are related to volcanic activity, being located well away from the active volcanoes, Scott concluded.

To date, the largest was a M3.8 at 21:35 NZDT on February 21. There have only been ten events larger than M3 in the swarm.

Featured image: Earthquake swarm near Turangi, North Island, New Zealand. Image credit: Google/TW

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