November 24, 2017

7.6 Earthquake in Pacific puts New Zealand on tsunami alert

The Kermedec Islands are a beautiful sub-tropical place, but also one of the shakiest spots on earth.

A powerful 7.6 magnitude earthquake near the Kermadec Islands in the Pacific Ocean has put New Zealand on tsunami alert.

The estimated height of a tsunami from this quake is only around a metre and is due to hit the North Island of New Zealand this morning.

New Zealand Civil Defence said it expected the wave to cause strong currents but not damage to the land.

The quake struck at 0703 (NZT) at a depth of 20km, according to the US Geological Service. It was felt in Wellington and parts of the East Coast of the North Island.

The quake was originally reported to be magnitude 7.8 at a depth of 48km but USGS has revised it to magnitude 7.6.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Honolulu said a tsunami had been generated and could be around a metre high when it arrives at New Zealand.

It had issued a tsunami warning for New Zealand, affecting Northland, the Bay of Plenty, and East Coast of the North Island.

The tsunami was expected at North Cape at 8.54am, Auckland at 10am, East Cape at 8.52am, and Gisborne 8.59am.

Gisborne Civil Defence controller Jon Davies said a small wave has been generated which had created a marine threat only.

There was no threat to land and no evacuations were planned.

The USGS said tsunamis had already struck the Kermadec Islands and Raoul Island this morning. The waves were 68cm and 84cm high.

People in coastal areas should stay off beaches, keep out of the water – including rivers and estuaries – and not go sightseeing, Civil Defence said.

KERMADEC ISLANDS SHAKEN

Eight people on Raoul Island – right next to the epicentre – are safe and unharmed from this morning’s massive earthquake.

The Department of Conservation said it had four staff and four volunteers on the island.

“They certainly felt the earthquake but they are fine,” a DOC regional spokesman Liz Maire said.