Hawke’s Bay and the East Coast are on the Australia plate and deep below the sea offshore the pacific plate is sliding underneath us. The movement is very slow (about as fast as your fingernails grow) but when there is no movement for a time, pressure builds up and this can result in a sharp jolt – that’s what you feel when there’s an earthquake. The 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, which registered M7.8 on the Richter scale, resulted New Zealand’s greatest disaster.
There as been many earthquakes on the East Coast apart from 1931, in 1932 there was a M6.9-7 earthquake in Wairoa and in 1990 there was a M6.2 earthquake that damaged homes in Central Hawke’s Bay.
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