Type of Event: earthquake
When: 3 February 1931
Where: Napier and Hastings, Hawke's Bay
In 1931, the cities of Napier and Hastings were devastated by New Zealand's deadliest earthquake. At least 256 people died in the magnitude 7.8 'quake - 161 in Napier, 93 in Hastings and two in Wairoa. Many thousands required medical treatment.
An earthquake is measured by its size, known as its magnitude.
Californian seismologist (earthquake researcher) Charles Richter developed the Richter scale as a means of comparing one earthquake with another.
The Richter scale calculates the size of an earthquake by measuring ground movement at its epicentre, using the height of the biggest shockwave and the time between tremor waves. These measurements are recorded by a seismograph. However, the actual impact of an earthquake can also be affected by its depth.
Another method for measuring earthquakes is the Modified Mercalli scale, which determines the intensity of the earthquake, or the actual effect on people, buildings and the ground itself.
256 (161 in Napier, 93 in Hastings, two in Wairoa)
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