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M 5.7 Earthquake Jolts the Ground Already in Flood Aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle Hits In New Zealand

Photo captured from USGS

A magnitude of 5.7 earthquakes struck the Cook Strait by New Zealand on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. In the aftermath of the cyclone, Gabrielle hits the country disabled by the landslides and flooding. New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Center tweeted that the shake was “widely felt in the North Island.” There were no immediate reports of damage or injury and no tsunami warning.

According to USGS, The location of New Zealand is the “3000 km long Australia-Pacific Plate boundary” extending from south of Macquarie Island to the southern-Kermadec Island chain which is two oppositely verging subduction zones (Puysegur and Hikurangi) and a transpressive continental transform, the Alpine Fault through South Island, New Zealand.

Due to the transformation of the tectonic plates, convergence, and subduction activities have occurred. The Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone generates many large earthquakes on the interface between the descending Pacific and overriding the Australian plates. Since 2009, one of the largest normal faults (outer rise) earthquakes has ever been recorded as of M 8.1 at the south of Samoa, 40 km east of the Tonga trench, generating a tsunami that left 180 people dead.

The earthquake occurred at the depth of 74km (50 miles) between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is experiencing landslides and flooding due to cyclone Gabrielle, which has been causing havoc in the northern part of the country leaving four people dead this week.

More heavy rain is on the way toward the area as water undertakes the whole region and 5 million people are at risk according to ABC News. In 2011, an earthquake jolted at the South Island leaving 185 people dead. As long as the nation sits on the “Ring of Fire”, more earthquakes will visit the country in the future.

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