Magnitudes of New Zealand earthquakes, 1901-1993

  • D. J. Dowrick GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • D. A. Rhoades GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand


Determinations of surface-wave magnitude (Ms) are made on a consistent basis for 202 selected New Zealand earthquakes over the period 1901-1993, including most post-1942 events with local magnitude not less than 6.0 and centroid depth less than 45 km. These determinations have led to a reassessment of magnitudes and locations of some earlier events in the New Zealand Seismological Observatory Catalogue of local magnitudes (ML), in some cases with substantial revisions. The surface-wave magnitudes are compared with local magnitudes and moment magnitudes (Mw), where available, and the relations between these three variables and centroid depth are examined through regression models. The absence of surface-wave observations for some earthquakes allows an upper limit to be placed on their likely moment magnitudes. The analysis shows that estimates of Mw derived from Ms will have a standard error of about 0.15 and Mw derived from ML a standard error of about 0.3.


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How to Cite
Dowrick, D. J., & Rhoades, D. A. (1998). Magnitudes of New Zealand earthquakes, 1901-1993. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 31(4), 260-280.

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