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Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake Off East Coast N.Z

Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake Off East Coast Of The North Island, N.Z

UPDATE: 10:01pm - Earthquake Magnitude revised to 6.6 by U.S. Geological SurveyMagnitude 6.8  Earthquake Off East Coast N.Z - Graphic Courtesy of  U.S. Geological Survey

An magnitude 6.6 earthquake occurred 40 km (25 miles) SSW of Gisborne, New Zealand, 90 km (55 miles) NE of Napier, New Zealand, 355 km (220 miles) SE of Auckland, New Zealand, 360 km (225 miles) NE of WELLINGTON, New Zealand at 12:55 AM MST, Dec 20, 2007 (8:55 PM local time in New Zealand). The magnitude and location may be revised when additional data and further analysis results are available. No reports of damage or casualties have been received at this time; however, this earthquake may have caused damage due to its location and size.

-- Courtesy United States Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center

UPDATE: 09:33pm - Earthquake Magnitude downgraded to 6.4 by U.S. Geological Survey

Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 08:55:17 PM at epicenter

Location 38.729°S, 178.362°E
Depth 33 km (20.5 miles) set by location program

Distances 31 km (19 miles) ESE (103°) from Gisborne, New Zealand

147 km (91 miles) NE (56°) from Napier, New Zealand
193 km (120 miles) ESE (111°) from Rotorua, New Zealand
378 km (235 miles) SE (124°) from Auckland, New Zealand
417 km (259 miles) NE (48°) from WELLINGTON, New Zealand

Location Uncertainty Error estimate not available
Parameters Nst=010, Nph=010, Dmin=423.8 km, Rmss=1.43 sec, Gp=158°,
M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=1

-- Courtesy US Geological Service

Magnitude 6.8, Thursday, December 20 2007 at 8:55 pm (NZDT), 50 km south-east of Gisborne

Quake Details - Information about this earthquake:

Reference Number: 2839343/G Universal Time (UTC): December 20 2007 at 7:55
NZ Daylight Time: Thursday, December 20 2007 at 8:55 pm
Latitude, Longitude 38.86°S, 178.52°E
Focal Depth 40 km
Richter magnitude 6.8
Region Hikurangi Trough
Location 50 km south-east of Gisborne
400 km south-east of Auckland

Felt widely, especially along east coast North Island

Tolaga Bay
Site Code: TBAS
MMI: 7
Time(NZST): 20/12/2007 20:55:31

MM 7: Damaging
General alarm. People experience difficulty standing. Furniture and appliances are shifted. Substantial damage to fragile or unsecured objects. A few weak buildings are damaged.


The size of an earthquake is often described using magnitude, which is the amount of energy released during an earthquake. However, not all of the energy released in an earthquake will necessarily be felt at the surface, depending on the earthquake's depth. In New Zealand, where earthquakes occur from near the surface right down to a depth of over 600 km, the Modified Mercalli intensity scale is a better indicator of an earthquake's effects on people and their environment.

The original Mercalli scale graded the effects of earthquakes into ten steps. The scale used in New Zealand is a twelve step ranking, hence Modified Mercalli (MM), with 1 representing the weakest of shaking, through to 12 representing almost complete destruction. The descriptions below are a simplified version of the New Zealand Modified Mercalli Intensity scale:

-- Courtesy GeoNet


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