March 31st, 2017
An earthquake swarm is taking place in Turangi with the biggest quake so far being of magnitude 4.5.
The 4.5 quake was at a shallow 5km depth. It took place 10km north-west of Turangi on Thursday. The shaking was felt widely with reports coming from all over the North Island and some in the South Island too. Turangi lies on the southern shores of Lake Taupo in the central North Island. This lake is one of New Zealand’s super volcanoes.
800 quakes have hit the Taupo area since mid-February. Whether this is related to tectonic forces or volcanic forces is unknown, but is likely to be the former.
February 22nd, 2017
Around 300 small earthquakes occurred in Taupo and Rotorua according to Geonet.
This sequence of quakes began February 13 at 6pm with the largest so far being a magnitude 3.8. While quakes of this magnitude are not destructive, they are unusual and concerning. A sequence of aftershocks occur from a bigger quake and there has been no big quake to set off this particular sequence. This points to other causes and both Taupo and Rotorua are the main volcanic zones in New Zealand. However, Geonet thinks these quakes are not related to anything volcanic, rather it is likely a slow and long tectonic stretching of the zone. However, a volcanic origin cannot be ruled out as being the cause of these quakes.
November 2nd, 2015
A swarm of moderate earthquakes shook the central North Island on October 29 followed by a 5.4 quake on Sunday 1 2015 which struck 35 km north-east of Taihape.
The North Island’s central region is dominated by volcanoes including Lake Taupo a super-volcano. It also includes Ruapehu the highest mountain in the North Island. There was also a swarm of small earthquakes near Mt Taranaki a lone volcano to the west.
GNS Science state that it is not unusual to have a swarm of small or moderate quakes in these areas and more study is required in order to comment further.
Map showing Lake Taupo, Mt Ruapehu, and Mt Taranaki
January 22nd, 2013
Volcanic activity at White Island has increased which is indicative of a significant eruption, according to GNS Science. Currently, there is increased hydrothermal activity which is of “significant concern” according to Brad Scott, a vulcanologist at GNS.
It is very unusual to see so many volcanoes in New Zealand showing signs of unrest.
There have also been recent swarms of quakes in Taupo and Taranaki, which both have significant volcanoes.
January 20th, 2013
Ever since last years 7.0 earthquake in Taranaki, the region has had regular quakes of 3, 4, and 5 in magnitude. 2013 the region is even more active. With a 5.0 on New Years Day followed by a 4.3 half an hour later, the year started with a shake.
Today, the region was struck by a 5.2. Of course it could all subside and go back to normal. But regualr activity increases the chance of a big quake and it is also possible that the Taranaki Volcano like many others in the North Island, are starting to show signs of life.
December 12th, 2012
The central North Island of New Zealand is showing signs of increased volcanic activity after warnings issued on three volcanoes in the last couple of days. White Island, Mt Ruapehu, and Mt Tongariro are all heating up.
These 3 volcanoes lie in the same part of the Pacific Ring of Fire that passes through the North Island. While Tongariro and Ruapehu are south of Lake Taupo, White Island is located to the north.
It will be interesting to see if these are all happening independently of each other or if they are all linked somehow. If they are linked, then this could mean that Lake Taupo could show signs of heating up too. Although this is unlikely, the fact that Taupo is one of Earth’s super-volcanoes, means it would be wise at least to consider the possibility.
December 8th, 2012
A magnitude 5.8 quake was among a swarm of 28 earthquakes to shake the North Island this morning.
The larger quake was 175 kilometres deep and centred 20km south east of Tokoroa and was felt across the whole country.