At 3:24 am on Sunday June 9, a moderate 5.5 magnitude earthquake was felt by many along the Southern Alps, particularly those in the Queenstown Lakes District. The epicentre of the quake sat around 40km north-east of the Milford Sound and had a depth of 5km. According to geonet.org.nz, the quake was felt and recorded by 621 people, some of whom described the shaking as ‘strong.’
Naturally, news of this has startled many of the Upper Clutha community who worry that this is a warning sign for the magnitude eight event predicted for the region. On the other hand, others in the community wonder whether this means that tension is being released on the Alpine Fault. While many large geological events are preceded by small ‘foreshocks,’ there is no evidence to suggest that all small earthquakes have a larger one in tow. When posed with these two potential outcomes, geologists simply do not have enough research to make predictions based on events like this.
Nonetheless, this still remains a reminder to all along the Alpine Fault to update and stock up their emergency survival kits (or create one if one does not already exist). Civil Defence authorities suggest that the basic materials for the emergency kit include: drinking water for at least three days, toilet paper and plastic buckets for emergency toilets, long-lasting food for everyone in the household (including babies and pets), dust masks and work gloves. It is also suggested that neighbourhoods prepare together and discuss what will happen in an emergency situation among the local community.
For more information on emergency procedures for different events and circumstances, visit happens.nz which covers all of the details for evacuation and what should be prepared for in any kind of Civil Defense emergency.