Kiwis had good reason to quake in fear last year

MONITORING agency GeoNet has revealed more earthquakes were recorded in New Zealand in 2016 than any other year in the organisation's 15-year history.

It recorded 32,828 earthquakes last year in the country.

On average the organisation records about 20,000 a year. In 2011, another very active year, 29,000 were recorded.

"It's been a geologically busy year,” a GeoNet spokes- woman said.

"This year we had 122 earthquakes between magnitude 5.0 and 6.0, 10 magnitude 6.0-6.9s, and, two magnitude 7.0-plus earthquakes.”

The most powerful of those, the 7.8 magnitude quake in Kaikoura on November 14, was unique for two reasons, GeoNet said in a post.

"How it ruptured across the faults through the North Canterbury and Marlborough Fault areas and the slow-slip earthquakes (it) triggered,” the post said.

"The slow-slip events or 'silent earthquakes' started right after the M7.8 Kaikoura earthquake stopped.

"Our understanding of slow-slip earthquakes is evolving due to its relatively recent detection in 2002 in New Zealand.

"We don't yet fully understand what it means to have slow-slip events triggered by the M.7.8.

"However, we are cautious as to what this might mean for future earthquakes.”


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