Poster of the North Island, New Zealand Earthquake of 20 January 2014 - Magnitude 6.2

Tectonic Summary

The January 20, 2014 M6.2 earthquake northeast of Masterton in the North Island of New Zealand is located approximately 115 km northeast of Wellington. The earthquake resulted from northeast-southwest oriented normal faulting 175 km to the west of the Hikurangi Trench, where the Pacific plate subducts westward beneath the North Island. At the latitude of this event, the Pacific plate moves towards the west-southwest with respect to the Australia plate at a rate of approximately 42 mm/yr. The faulting character, location and depth of this earthquake indicate it is an intraplate event either within Australia plate crust above the subducting Pacific plate, or within the interior of subducted Pacific slab, rather than a plate boundary event on the subduction zone thrust interface. New Zealand experiences fairly frequent moderate-sized earthquakes; the region within 200 km of the January 20, 2014 event has experienced 35 earthquakes of M 5.5 or larger over the past century. The 2014 event is just a few kilometers to the east of a M 7.3 earthquake in March of 1934, and approximately 40 km southwest of two M6.2 and 6.4 earthquakes near Dannevirke in March and May of 1990, respectively. The 1990 events did not cause significant damage or fatalities.

Earthquake Report

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