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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Reassurance after quake prediction

Reassurance after quake prediction

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 10:49 20/03/2011
 
 
Scientists are reassuring people that earthquake activity in New Zealand remains normal.

There was a succession of smaller earthquakes today, the largest a 4.6 earthquake that struck 10km southwest of Twizel at 1.10pm.

A 4.3 quake in the same area followed at 1.33, then another at 1.34.

GNS principal scientist Kelvin Berryman said the quakes were on the Ostler fault, a fault line that hadn’t shown anything major for 3000 years.

The scientist said March 20 in Christchurch was on course for a "standard day", with aftershocks remaining well-behaved and getting less frequent and less intense.

"There still remains a possibility (around a five per cent chance) magnitude 5 or larger earthquake could occur in the Canterbury area today, so be prepared," he said.

Scientists would be showing solidarity by continuing with their normal work, as would engineers  and others involved in the clean-up.

Their message comes as many Kiwis are feeling on edge today,  mindful of the prediction of a large South Island quake by "Moon Man" Ken Ring.

Thousands of Christchurch residents have left the city, with other stockpiling water and withdrawing money from ATMs in preparation.

However, GNS principal scientist Kelvin Berryman said today's seismic activity was normal so far, following a pattern of aftershocks expected in the wake of the February 22 quake.

The 4.7 magnitude quake, 210km deep at 9.34pm last night in Hawera would have been felt, Berryman said.

"That earthquake is related to the subduction of the Pacific plate beneath the North Island and is nothing to do with activity down here," the scientist said.

Berryman said March 20 was on course for a "standard day", with aftershocks remaining well-behaved and getting less frequent and less intense.

"There still remains a possibility (around a 5 per cent chance) magnitude 5 or larger earthquake could occur in the Canterbury area today, so be prepared," he said.

Scientists would be showing solidarity by continuing with their normal work, as would engineers  and others involved in the clean-up.

Ring made his prediction of a "quake for the history books" on September 7, four days after the first Canterbury earthquake on the predictweather.com site.

He wrote "the morning of 20 March 2011 sees the South Island again in a big earthquake risk".

At 9.44am the moon would be at its closest point to earth for 2011, he said.

"All factors should come together for a moon-shot straight through the centre of the earth and targeting NZ. The time will be just before noon. It could be another for the history books."

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