What has happened?
The M6.2 Eketahuna quake struck at 3:52 pm on Monday, 20th January 2014, centered 15 km east of Eketahuna, in the Wairarapa, New Zealand. The quake was felt strongly in both islands, and we have received over 9000 felt reports from the public, with multiple reports of damage from those closest to the quake. The focal mechanism shows it to be a normal fault earthquake.
What will happen next?
Much of the original content from this story has been moved to the 'Eketahuna Future Scenarios and Aftershocks' in the Eketahuna Earthquake section of our website, where it will be updated as the sequence progresses.
In research published in 1994 by GNS Science, a slow-slip event (SSE) was thought to have affected the stress on the faults associated with the Weber 1990 earthquakes. There is currently a SSE beneath the Kapiti coastline, which has been in progress since early 2013. Preliminary calculations of stress change indicate that this ongoing Kapiti SSE may be causing changes in stress beneath the Tararua and Wairarapa region. Research relating to SSEs and their relationship to earthquakes is ongoing here at GNS Science and elsewhere around the world.
What to do during an earthquake
The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management advised that the best action during an earthquake is to "drop, cover and hold". "If you are inside, move no more than a few steps and do not try to run outside. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit," Director John Hamilton said. In most buildings in New Zealand, it is safer to stay where you are until the shaking stops, Mr Hamilton said.
More information about what to do before, during and after an earthquake is at www.getthru.govt.nz
The Earthquake Commission advised that as aftershocks continue, it's important to fix and fasten any large furniture or valuables in homes to keep families safe. The location, timing and intensity of earthquakes cannot be predicted, but people can take steps to help them be prepared for when earthquakes occur.
One step is to visit the EQC website and look through information in the 'Fix. Fasten. Don't Forget' section.
EQC General Manager of Reinsurance, Research and Education, Hugh Cowan, says "It's important that people make the necessary changes to help protect their loved ones and their homes and contents if an earthquake happens. As we learned in the Canterbury earthquakes, securing a large wardrobe, television or chimney can save lives." Your city or district council is responsible for civil defence in your area. You can get more information about hazards in your area from your council and on the GNS Science and GeoNet websites.