Strong M6.3 earthquake hits Cook Strait, New Zealand

cook strait new zealand m6.3 (geonet) earthquake february 15 2023 f

A strong earthquake registered by the GeoNet as M6.3 hit Cook Strait, New Zealand at 06:38 UTC (19:38 LT) on February 15, 2023. The agency is reporting a depth of 50 km (31 miles). USGS is reporting it as M5.7 at a depth of 74.3 km (46 miles); EMSC M5.7 at a depth of 67 km (41 miles).

The epicenter was located in the Cook Strait, between North Island and South Island, about 54 km (34 miles) WNW of Otaki (6 086), Wellington, and 90 km (56 miles) WSW of Palmerston North, Manawatu-Wanganui (population 75 996).

The quake caused a long and strong shake felt widely across the North Island and Marlborough region.

GeoNet received more than 60 000 felt reports over the next 2 hours. 72 people said they felt extreme shaking, 299 severe, 4 799 strong, and 18 627 moderate.

There is no tsunami threat from this earthquake.

cook strait new zealand m6.3 (geonet) earthquake february 15 2023 bg
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.

The quake follows two weeks of extremely heavy and record-breaking rains over the North Island:

Regional seismicity

cook strait new zealand m6.3 (geonet) earthquake february 15 2023 emsc m5.7 regional seismicity

Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google


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