A seismicity anomaly in Cook Strait and deliberations on a possible earthquake prediction, 1986 - 1988

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Smith, W.D. 1992 A seismicity anomaly in Cook Strait and deliberations on a possible earthquake prediction, 1986 - 1988. Lower Hutt: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences. Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences science report 92/12. 79 p.

Abstract: In 1986 a study of New Zealand earthquakes identified a region near Wellington where the b-value had been anomalously high for the period 1981-85. A previous study had suggested that this phenomenon might be a precursor to large earthquakes. Because of the proximity to the city of Wellington, and the likely social sensitivity to the announcement of an earthquake prediction, extensive discussions were held within DSIR, and with scientific colleagues from Victoria University. A decision was taken not to make a public announcement, because it was judged that there was insufficient basis for doing so. Instead, surveillance was intensified over the Cook Strait region. No large earthquakes eventuated, but in 1990 a swarm with maximum magnitude 5.3 occurred very close to the location which had been identified in 1986 as the centre of the anomaly.