Earthquakes: Our ten big ones

Here's a list of 10 significant earthquakes recorded in New Zealand's history. Nine of them are magnitude 7.0 or more on the Richter scale. (Last night's quake east of Gisborne measured 6.8).

Others in our nation's past have been higher than 7.0, but have occured in non-populated areas or offshore.

1848 - MARLBOROUGH
(M 7.5, 16 October.) The earthquake that shook Marlborough on Monday 16 October was the largest in a series of earthquakes to hit the region that year.

1855 - WAIRARAPA
(M 8.2, 23 January.) The 1855 earthquake is the most severe earthquake to have occurred in New Zealand since systematic European colonisation began in 1840.

1888 - NORTH CANTERBURY
(M 7.1, 1 September.) In 1888 the Amuri District was shaken by a large earthquake that reached intensities of MM 9.

1929 - MURCHISON
(M 7.7, 17 June.) The massive rumbling of the 1929 Murchison earthquake was heard as far away as New Plymouth

1931 - HAWKE'S BAY
(M 7.8, 3 February.) The 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake caused the largest loss of life and most extensive damage of any quake in New Zealand's recorded history.

1934 - PAHIATUA
(M 7.6, 5 March.) The 1934 Pongaroa earthquake shook the lower North Island on March 5 1934 and was felt as far away as Auckland and Dunedin.

1942 - WAIRARAPA I
(M 7.2, 24 June.) This earthquake severely rocked the lower North Island on June 24, 1942, causing extensive damage to local buildings.

1942 - WAIRARAPA II
(M 7.0, 2 August.) The shock that struck the Wairarapa Region on the 2nd of August was nearly as severe as the disastrous June 24 earthquake five weeks earlier.

1968 - INANGAHUA
(M 7.0, 24 May.) The 1968 Inangahua earthquake caused widespread damage, and was felt over much of the country.

1987 - EDGECUMBE
(M 6.1, 2 March.) The shallow origin of this earthquake made it very destructive, despite its magnitude of only 6.1.


* source: geonet.org.nz

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