HomeNewsHuman InterestEarthquakes rattle New Zealand’s North Island

Earthquakes rattle New Zealand’s North Island

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Hundreds of earthquakes have rattled parts of New Zealand for the past five days, with experts warning the shaking could continue for weeks.

On Wednesday, the country’s earthquake monitoring service Geonet said it had recorded 922 earthquakes as of 9 a.m. (2000 GMT) near Kawerau, near the centre of the North Island.

The earthquake swarm began on Saturday, with the largest quake registering a magnitude of 4.8, seismologist John Ristau said.

The swarm appeared to be tapering off but Ristau cautioned against premature celebrations.

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“We expect an overall decrease in the frequency of these earthquakes over time, but we have no way of knowing that for sure.’’

Ristau said the Kawerau area experienced similar swarms in 2018 and 2019 but swarms with the number of magnitude-4 events as the current one were relatively infrequent.

“Our experts believe this swarm is due to the movement of active faults and is not related to volcanic unrest or geothermal activity.’’

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Kawerau District Mayor Faylene Tunui said some walking tracks had been closed due to rock falls and landslips.

“We have been hearing reports of minor damage in houses, mainly due to the shaking and dislodging of items from shelves and cupboards.

“However, we are yet to know the full extent of damage and the shakes appear to be continuing.”

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