Upper North Island rattled by earthquake swarm

For the first time in over a decade, the upper North Island has been hit by a cluster of earthquakes.

In the past week the region has experienced ten shakes, with the latest and biggest one causing houses to shake.

This week, an area deemed to have the lowest quake risk in the country was hit by an earthquake "swarm".

Since Boxing Day there have been ten quakes in the district. The largest, a magnitude 4.2 hit shortly before 2am this morning, and at just 12 kilometres deep.

Northland hasn't experienced anything like this since 2007.

Geonet seismologist John Ristau says: "The northland Auckland region historically has the lowest rates of seismic activity in New Zealand.

"In 2018 I checked our catalogue and we located over 19,500 earthquakes in the New Zealand area, and only 32 of them have been in the Auckland-Northland area".

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai says that "we're very, very un-earthquake prone in Northland so anything that happens people go 'what was that?'"

Geonet received around a hundred official reports of people woken from the shaking, but social media has exploded with many more.

Mrs Mai says it's a timely reminder to stock up on emergency supplies.

"The people on the white horse aren't going to come over the hill and rescue you, you need to be prepared, we live in the shaky isles".

Her message echoed by seismologists who warn in New Zealand, you can never be too prepared. 

Geonet seismologists are warning people not to be complacent. They say prior to the 2010 Christchurch quakes; the Canterbury area also had what was considered a low level of seismic activity.



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