Update: Emergency Info B.C. stated at 2:26 p.m. that, after a risk assessment, there isn't a tsunami threat to B.C. from the 8.1-magnitude earthquake in the Kermadec Islands region.
Two clusters of powerful undersea earthquakes have been taking place today in two areas near New Zealand—one east off New Zealand’s North Island and the other further north of New Zealand—triggering tsunami warnings and evacuations on some coastlines.
Off the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island, a 7.3-magnitude quake (initially assessed as a 6.9-magnitude quake based on preliminary measurements) that occurred at 2:27 a.m. Auckland time on March 5 (5:27 a.m. on March 4 Vancouver time) at a depth of 21 kilometres (13 miles) and with an epicentre located 175 kilometres (109 miles) northeast of Gisborne, New Zealand; and 221 kilometres (137 miles) northeast of Whakatane, New Zealand.
While tsunami warnings were issued for some coastlines (with some later called off), the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Centre stated that there wasn’t any threat to the North American coastline, including B.C., from this earthquake.
A number of other earthquakes followed in the area, ranging from 4.6- to 5.4-magnitude, until 8:36 a.m. on March 5 Auckland time (11:36 a.m. on March 4 Vancouver time).
The other cluster was located north of New Zealand, in the Kermadec Islands region.
A 7.4-magnitude hit at 10:41 p.m. on March 4 Auckland time (1:41 a.m. on March 4 Vancouver time) at a depth of 55 kilometres (34 miles).
The epicentre was located 965 kilometres (600 miles) southwest of ‘Ohonua, Tonga; and 1042 kilometres (648 miles) northeast of Whakatane, New Zealand.
It was followed by an even more intense seismic event: an 8.1-magnitude quake (initially assessed as 7.8-magnitude based on preliminary measurements) that hit at 7:28 a.m. on March 5 Auckland time (11:28 a.m. Vancouver time on March 4) at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles).
A tsunami warning was issued for some coastlines in the South Pacific while the threat to other coasts was still under investigation.
Both the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Centre and Emergency Info B.C. (as of 12:10 p.m.) stated that the tsunami threat to the British Columbian coast from this quake was still being evaluated.
Other quakes in this cluster ranged from 4.9- to 6.5-magnitude, with seismic activity currently continuing on.