Swarm of quakes in quick succession hit Rotorua

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The Bay of Plenty has been rocked by eleven earthquakes today.

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Photo: Supplied / Geonet

The largest was a magnitude 4.9 earthquake which struck at 8.12am at a depth of 5km and was centred 20km east of Rotorua.

A magnitude 4.5 quake struck about 20km east of Rotorua at 7.57am, according to GeoNet.

It was about 4km deep.

Four minutes later a 3.7km quake struck 15km north-east of the city and had a depth of 21km.

It was followed a minute later by a 3.4 quake at a depth of 4km and was centred 20km east of Rotorua.

There have been several other quakes between 3.3 and 3.8 that are part of what GeoNet is calling a swarm – all centred in the same location.

GeoNet described the 4.9 shake as a moderate one while the rest have been labelled weak.

“This looks like a swarm – we often see these in this area (the Okataina volcanic centre), and there were small foreshocks yesterday,” GeoNet said on Twitter.

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“The last swarm with quakes of this size was in Rotoehu in July 2004.”

Rotorua local Rochelle said the quakes had been the talk of the cafe she works in, but there did not appear to be any damage to the city.

“All of a sudden, everything started shaking and then we were all a bit like ‘what’s going on’ and the customers were a bit worried,” she said.

“About 20 minutes later, I was in the kitchen making a cake and everything started shaking and the brick walls were shaking in the cafe.”

Kahu Walker, who is principal of Edgecumbe Primary School near Whakatāne, said the quakes rattled nerves, but caused no damage in his town.

“I thought ‘oh here we go’… then you get that long slow after-shake and I was listening out for things, but it never eventuated in the end,” Walker said.

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