Sunday, July 28, a moderate 5.2 magnitude earthquake strike occurred 103 km NNW of Ceva-i-Ra, Fiji, according to the USGS. It happened at 16:29 UTC. The local date and time at the earthquake’s epicenter was: Monday, July 29, 2013 08:16:29.
The depth the earthquake occurred at was: 67.9 km. The epicenter’s latitude / longitude : 20.8514°S / 174.2953°E. The nearest volcano to the epicenter is on Hunter Island, which is 289 km distant from it.
There have so far been no reports of tsunamis, aftershocks, damage that has occurred as a result of the quake, nor injuries or deaths.
The area that the earthquake occurred in, at the eastern margin of the Australia plate, is one of the most seismically active areas of the world due to high rates of convergence between the Australia and Pacific plates.
In the region of New Zealand, the 3000 km long Australia-Pacific plate boundary extends from south of Macquarie Island to the southern Kermadec Island chain. It includes an oceanic transform (the Macquarie Ridge), two oppositely verging subduction zones (Puysegur and Hikurangi), and a transpressive continental transform, the Alpine Fault through South Island, New Zealand.
There have been 15 M7.5+ earthquakes since 1900 recorded near New Zealand. Nine of these, and the four largest, occurred along or near the Macquarie Ridge, including the 1989 M8.2 event on the ridge itself, and the 2004 M8.1 event 200 km to the west of the plate boundary, reflecting intraplate deformation. The largest recorded earthquake in New Zealand itself was the 1931 M7.8 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, which killed 256 people. The last M7.5+ earthquake along the Alpine Fault was 170 years ago; studies of the faults’ strain accumulation suggest that similar events are likely to occur again.
This latest 5.2 earthquake that struck off of the Fiji Islands has been mild in comparison. At this time, no injuries, casualties, or incidents of destruction have been reported.
Written by: Douglas Cobb