A 7.5 earthquake occurred off the coast of New Zealand at3:39 this morning. This is the third strong earthquakeworldwide in the past month. There was a magnitude 7.6 quake onthe Kamchatka peninsula in Siberia on April 20, then a 7.9quake off the island of Tonga on May 3. Last night’s greatquake was centered in the Kermadec Islands 500 miles NE ofAuckland, New Zealand. It did not generate tsunami warnings,but is lilkely to cause tidal and short term sea levelchanges.

If you live in an earthquake prone area, such as the US WestCoast, Japan, Alaska or Indonesia, you should have an’earthquake kit’ in your home, and make certain that anyheavy objects above floor level are properly secured. Followthe advice of local disaster preparedness authorities tocreate your earthquake kit, but normally it should contain abasic first aid set, a week’s worth of food and water, abattery powered radio and a form of low-power lighting suchas candles.

Why the level of seismicity appears to be rising is notknown, and many geologists would dispute that currentseismicity is in any way unusual. However, the rapid melt of continental ice in Greenland, the antarctic and other areasis adding weight to the world’s oceans, and increased sealevels are known to increase tectonic and volcanic activity.Whether or not the relatively small increases taking placenow would have such an effect is not known.

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