Earthquake swarm rattles Bay of Plenty

  • 18/03/2023

The North Island has been rocked by multiple earthquakes in quick succession overnight - but scientists say it's "typical activity for the area".

Just before 3:30am on Saturday morning, a 3.4-magnitude quake struck 25km southwest of Whakatāne. 

At a depth of 3km, more than 500 people reported feeling the "weak" shaking on GeoNet. Most of the reports came from the east coast of the North Island.

Then, just over an hour later, a 4.6-magnitude earthquake was recorded in the same area. More than 2100 people reported feeling the 5km deep tremor, with GeoNet listing that quake as "light".

In the hour that followed, between 4:34am and 5:40am, GeoNet recorded at least another 10 quakes in the same area - the largest being 4.8-magnitude.

GeoNet said the quake "swarm", consisting of more than 40 earthquakes in total, was similar to ones recorded in 2018 and 2019.

"Feeling earthquakes close together in time can be unsettling, but this is typical activity for the area, and our team is keeping an eye on things," a statement said.

People who felt the quakes started taking to Twitter, particularly after the 4.6-magnitude tremor.

"FAAARK… [sic] can't sleep now," one said.

"Been nonstop shaking since 3am in Kawerau," another wrote.