An earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale jolted 74km NNE of L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand at 02:09:59 GMT on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The epicenter, with a depth of 10.0 km, was initially determined to be at 30.7958 degrees south latitude and 178.648 degrees west longitude, reports BSS.
Earthquakes occur frequently in New Zealand as the country is situated in the collision zone between the Indo-Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, part of the Pacific Basin Ring of Fire, where many earthquakes and volcanoes occur. Most events occur along the main ranges running from Fiordland in the southwest to East Cape in the northeast. This axis follows the boundary between the Indo-Australian and Pacific plates. Large earthquakes are less common along the central Alpine Fault, where the plates are not subducting and the forces are accommodated in different ways.
The largest city within the highest-risk zone is the nation’s capital, Wellington, followed by Hastings then Napier. All these cities have experienced severe earthquakes since European settlement. About 14,000 earthquakes occur in and around the country each year, of which between 150 and 200 are big enough to be felt. As a result, New Zealand has very stringent building regulations.