A very strong earthquake registered by GeoNet as M7.2 hit off the east coast of the North Island, New Zealand at 13:27 UTC on March 4, 2021 (02:27 LT, March 5). The agency is reporting a depth of 94 km (58 miles). USGS is reporting it as M6.9 at a depth of 10 km, EMSC as M7.3 at the same depth.
The epicenter was located 178 km (111 miles) NE of Gisborne and 228 km (142 miles) E of Whakatane, New Zealand.
There are about 200 people living within 100 km (62 miles).
8 000 people are estimated to have felt moderate shaking and 89 000 light.
Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 km (180 miles) of the earthquake epicenter, PTWC said.
A tsunami is a series of waves. The time between wave crests can vary from 5 minutes to an hour.
"We are assessing whether the earthquake has created a tsunami that could affect New Zealand. We will provide an update as soon as the initial assessment has been completed," New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency said.
"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."
Image credit: TW/SAM, Google
The USGS issued a Green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage.
Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are highly resistant to earthquake shaking, though some vulnerable structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are reinforced masonry and unreinforced brick with timber floor construction.
Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.
Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google