You're feeling 'ghost quakes', says GeoNet

You're feeling 'ghost quakes', says GeoNet

There was confusion over the size, location and even the number of earthquakes that had rattled the upper North Island this morning.

Initial reports had the quake centred just 5 kilometres deep and measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale, centred near Whakatane.

There were reports of it being felt across large parts of the North Island.

The confusion wasn't limited to those who felt the shaking; it was also evident on Twitter and in coverage of the quakes on Paul Henry programme this morning.

In the minutes that followed, the details of the quake continued to change until GeoNet confirmed the quake actually occurred 850 km north-east of Whakatane near the Kermadec Islands at a depth of 366 kilometres.

Speaking to Newshub this morning, GeoNet seismologist John Ristau said the rumblings are known as 'ghost quakes'; seismic readings made in locations far away from the epicentre of the actual earthquake.

This morning the 6.6 magnitude quake at the Kermadec Islands was strong enough to show up on seismographs across most of the country.

Due to the need for instant public notification of any quake event, this does initially send out quake reports via the GeoNet website and Twitter account but the GeoNet team then gather all of the reports from equipment and members of the public to work out exactly what's occurred and establish the true size and location of the earthquake.

GeoNet Rapid was introduced to give people information on quakes as soon as possible, but it does mean occasionally the information needs to be corrected.

GeoNet said the quake was felt from Kaikoura to Tonga.