5 Aug 2009

Fiordland rattled by more quakes

10:03 pm on 5 August 2009

Fiordland on New Zealand's south coast has again been rattled by sizable earthquakes, less than month after a 7.8-magnitude quake shook the region.

Three quakes were recorded on Wednesday ranging between 4.8 and 5.9 on the Richter scale, according to the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences.

The most powerful quake occurred at 8.31pm, centred 120km west of Te Anau at a focal depth of 5km.

A 4.8-magnitude quake happened at 7.07pm, centred 110km west of Tuatapere, at a depth of 5km.

It followed a 5.2-magnitude quake at 4.25pm, centred 100km west of Te Anau at a depth of 5km.

There have been no reports of damage.

The 7.8-magnitude quake in Dusky Sound in Fiordland National Park on 15 July was the biggest in 80 years and the largest quake of the year so far, according to the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences.

A GNS spokesperson Brad Scott says Wednesday's quakes are related the Dusky Sound quake. However, he aftershocks as large as the 5.9 tremor will be few and far between.

The biggest earthquake in recorded New Zealand history was 8.2 in 1855 in Wairarapa, GNS says.

New Zealand is located in a ring of volcanic arcs and oceanic trenches partly encircling the Pacific Basin known as the Ring of Fire, a zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.