Swarm of 332 earthquakes in Bay of Plenty since last night

Sat, Mar 18
Geonet recorded more than 40 earthquakes since the early hours of this morning.

A swarm of earthquakes rocked areas across the Bay of Plenty overnight.

GeoNet has recorded more than 332 earthquakes since the early hours of this morning.

The first was a magnitude 3.4 tremor at 3.29am on Saturday morning.

It was 3km deep and 25km southwest of Whakatāne, near Kawerau.

GeoNet posted a picture on Twitter of the seismic record showing evidence of swarm activity.

A spokesperson said residents in the area don't need to be alarmed.

They said: "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."

Smashed wine bottles on the ground at Super Liquor Kawerau.

Employees of Super Liquor Kawerau headed into work to find a huge mess after bottles fell from the shelves and littered the floor with broken glass, forcing the store to close for the day to clean up.

"I've never seen anything like this," duty manager Nicole Harras said. "I was ready to hand in my notice effective immediately."

This swarm is in a similar area to a series of quakes that occurred in 2018 and 2019.

Duty seismologist Elizabeth Abbott told RNZ swarms were common in the volcanic region with a similar sequence of quakes last seen in 2018 and 2019 near Kawerau.

"Certainly swarms are uncomfortable and unsettling cause it's so many little earthquakes all at once, but we can't predict earthquakes.

"We don't know when the big one is going to come so the best thing to do is be prepared and I would just remind people again that swarms are not anomalous in this region. We would expect them."


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