Strong earthquake in the Cook strait of New Zealand (Wellington - Blenheim)

Update July 19th, 08:24 UTC : No significant damage was reported from this quake so far, besides to some fallen and broken objects. (Vases, etc)

Update 22:17 UTC : Based on the Geonet I Have Felt It intensities we can conclude that no serious damage was inflicted.

Update 22:10 UTC :Reports in news sites are constantly exaggerating what happened. They don't seem to understand the difference in between earthquakes in the sea and below land. This was indeed a scary experience for many as it happened so sudden. MMI values we are receiving the back office indicate a max. moderate shaking,

Update 22:03 UTC : We are eager to find out whether people on the ferry from Wellengton to Picton or reverse may have notified something (waves, noise ...). If you were on board of one of the ferries, please let us know. We don't think that this earthquake was noticed on a ship, but only people on board of the ferries or other ships sailing through the Cook Strait can confirm this.

Update 21:56 UTC : We see a lot of (weak) aftershocks on the seismograph. Almost none of them will be felt as the hypocenters are all of them located in the Cook Strait.

Update 21:53 UTC : Mikaela Bowmar wrote : No obvious damage that I can see from driving through Lower Hutt. Was a decent shake though!

Update 21:49 UTC : The hypocenter or depth of the earthquake was reported by Geonet at 8 km, which is extremely shallow. Geonet reports a Magnitude of 5.7. New Zealanders were lucky that this earthquake did strike below the waters of the Cook Strait as the same earthquake below land may have been potentially damaging.
At, we expect maybe some minor damage in a limited number of houses and eventual landslides here and there. A few weeks ago we have seen images of serious landslides in the Wellington area, lets hope that there is no additional damage now.

Update 21:41 UTC : The earthquake was generated along the Hikurangi trench. The location is a subduction area where the Pacific plate subducts the Australian plate in westward direction at 46 mm/year. The Pacific plate sometimes hangs and when the stress gets too big breaks away which is causing the earthquake.
The Cook strait has had a lot of minor earthquakes all day long (see map)

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 23.38.31

Update 21:35 UTC : Below the Seismogram Drum installed at Wellington New Zealand. We can also see a number of aftershocks. The red block means that the amplitude is much greater but has been limited for reading purposes.

Wellington seismogram courtesy and copyright Geonet and GNS Science

Wellington seismogram courtesy and copyright Geonet and GNS Science

Update 21:27 UTC : Closest populated areas are Blenheim and Wellington

Update 21:23 UTC : As we can expect with a strong earthquake with epicenter in the Cook strait both ends of the islands have been shaken seriously. The North side of the South Island and the greater Wellington area have been shaken seriously.

Strong earthquake with epicenter in the Cook strait water

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 23.19.07

40 km east of Seddon

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 5.7

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2013-07-19 09:06:38

GMT/UTC Time : 2013-07-18 21:06:38

Depth (Hypocenter)  : 8 km

Depth and Magnitude updates in the list below.

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Click on the "I Felt It" button behind the corresponding earthquake. Your earthquake experience is not only important for science, but also for people in the area as well as our global readership.

Refresh this list
SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 23:49 2.7 18 MAP
GEONET Wellington Jul 18 23:45 1.7 24 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 23:33 2.0 9 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 22:51 1.5 5 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 22:35 2.1 13 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 22:25 3.1 8 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 22:08 3.5 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:55 2.5 14 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:53 2.5 19 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:50 3.3 8 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:48 2.6 16 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:47 2.4 10 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:43 1.6 18 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:38 3.7 9 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:36 2.2 11 MAP
GEONET Picton Jul 18 21:35 1.4 58 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:31 2.5 9 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:27 3.5 12 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:24 2.1 15 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:19 2.6 14 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:16 2.8 14 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:14 2.7 11 MAP
GEONET Wellington Jul 18 21:11 2.5 12 MAP
USGS Cook Strait, New Zealand Jul 18 21:06 5.3 16 MAP
GEOFON Cook Strait, New Zealand Jul 18 21:06 5.4 19 MAP
EMSC Cook Strait, New Zealand Jul 18 21:06 5.5 20 MAP
GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:06 5.7 8 MAP I Felt It INFO
  • puponga, farewell spit - went on for approx 1 minute, furniture shaking, lights swinging, animals disturbed. building shook quite hard
  • Nelson City - Upstairs in the Business School at NMIT (K Block on Alton Street in Nelson). Enough of a double-jolt to get me away from my desk & into a well-reinforced doorway in case there was a follow-up jolt.
  • Tokoroa - Was sitting at table in dining room and felt a wee shudder
  • Tawa Wellington - 15 seconds of shaking of house building up quickly then a low level shake of 5 seconds followed by 30 seconds of background vibration eg felt but not heard.
  • Wellington - I was in the kitchen and noticed the house was vibrating slightly and could hear a rumbling sound so went to the kitchen doorway quickly. The vibration turned into noticeable shaking and so I hung on to the doorway until the shaking stopped. No damage. We have 7 chimneys so I have several chimney free spots to go to for earthquakes.
  • Wellington - The lights were swinging
  • City Wellington - It was like someone running around on the building and dropped a heavy box.
  • wainuiomata - strong and rolling
  • Wellington - Shake. That's all
  • springcreek - Strongest I felt since inangahua 1960s
  • Blenheim - Thought the washing machine had gone rampant.
  • Wellington - Whole Bed shook
  • Nelson - Swaying at work, and felt shaking
  • Te Marua, Upper Hutt - Lasted quite a while, it seemed to stop then start again.
  • Wanganui - Long gentle shake
  • Stokes Valley - Big jolt long one
  • Wellington - Secouer.
  • Wellington - In office on level 5 - it was scary and a bit like riding a wave
  • Wellington - I was sitting in a cafe in Wellington about 3:40PM. I was alone so was not talking and probably more observant than others around me who were talking in groups. It was a light rocking that lasted a few seconds. I looked up and saw the hanging light fixtures sway. No one else looked up so I thought that maybe it was my imagination. But I got home and logged in to MSN and realized that I had felt an earthquake. I am visiting from Seattle,Washington - one earthquake zone to another@
  • Marton - I was sitting on my sofa around 9am, & suddenly felt the sofa shaking beneath me. It seemed to go on for a while. Looking up, I saw my chandelier moving. My 11 month old Golden Retriever was sleeping on the rug, but suddenly sat up when the sofa was shaking, & then stared out the window until it stopped.
  • Mangamahu - Slight rolling then light rocking for about 2 min.
  • GEONET Seddon Jul 18 21:03 2.9 15 MAP
    GEONET Seddon Jul 18 18:55 1.7 39 MAP
    GEONET Seddon Jul 18 17:48 2.2 15 MAP
    GEONET Seddon Jul 18 15:03 2.1 6 MAP
    GEONET Blenheim Jul 18 08:42 2.1 50 MAP
    GEONET Wellington Jul 18 04:53 2.0 29 MAP


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    I felt the shaking *
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    City/Village where you felt the earthquake *
    Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Latitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Longitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Shaking Strength *
    MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
    MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
    MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
    Fittings :
    Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
    Structures :
    Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
    MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
    Fittings :
    Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
    Structures :
    Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
    MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
    People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
    Fittings :
    Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
    Structures :
    Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
    Environment :
    Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
    MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
    General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
    Fittings :
    Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
    Structures :
    Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
    Environment :
    Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
    MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
    People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
    Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
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