4 May 2015

Wanaka quake a one-off - GeoNet

7:07 pm on 4 May 2015

A shallow but severe magnitude 5.8 quake which struck near Wanaka today was a one-off and not related to the Alpine Fault, a GeoNet spokesperson says.

The quake hit at 2.29pm and was centred 30km north-west of Wanaka, in the Matukituki Valley, at a depth of just 5km.

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GeoNet seismologist Caroline Holden said the quake was not related to the Alpine Fault and was a one-off.

Little damage had been reported, and that was because of the quake's location, Ms Holden said.

"It's just because it's so far away from any urban location. Had you had Wanaka right above the epicentre it would have been a different story."

The shake was a strike-slip earthquake, which occurred when two tectonic plates slid against each other, she said.

Victoria University Associate professor John Townend said there were earthquakes west of Wanaka on an ongoing basis, though they are usually fairly small.

He said they showed not all the tectonic activity was on the alpine fault, and there were other, smaller faults.

Queenstown Lakes District Council chief executive Adam Feeley said the council had activated its emergency operations centre to assess and monitor the situation.

"We have been in touch with all emergency services and there are no reports of major damage or injury," Mr Feeley said.

However, the Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Road, which linked the town with the national park, was closed while assessments were carried out.

There had been reports of a crack on the road, and rocks had fallen on to it.

Preliminary assessments showed all critical council infrastructure was operating normally, and a more detailed inspection of water and wastewater systems, the roads and public buildings had started, Mr Feeley said.

"We have also been in touch with major tourist operators and the reports so far are that there are no issues," he said.