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large aftershock earthquake in christchurch, nz- more damage than last time

Christchurch cathedral collapsed, its high spire gone. Photo: Stuff.co.nz
Christchurch cathedral collapsed, its high spire gone. Photo: Stuff.co.nz

“ "Multiple fatalities have been reported at several locations in the central city, including two buses crushed by falling buildings. A doctor and emergency services are attending," police said in a statement.”

Approximately 400,000 people are in the city centre during the work day. Last time, the city centre was mostly empty, that quake being at night.

There is a lot of devastation, including collapsed buildings, in the centre of Christchurch, with some estimates of deaths already at 200, and rising.

While New Zealand is in an earthquake zone, this is the worst damage done by an earthquake in New Zealand since the Napier quake of 1931, when 256 people died and the centre of that town was burnt out.

Note that, despite this earthquake being a little over a tenth of the strength of the last one in September 2010, it was much nearer to the centre of the city, and much nearer the surface. Hence the actual experience of the disturbance for those caught in it was much more violent.

Christchurch earthquakes
22 February 2011 - Lyttelton 4 September 2010 - Darfield
time of day early afternoon 4 am
distance from city centre approx. 10 km 30 km
depth approx. 5 km 33 km
Richter scale 6.3 7.1

Satellite map of Christchurch, New Zealand.  Image: google.com
Satellite map of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Earthquake epicentre: Lyttelton.
Image: google.com

Marker at abelard.org

Christchurch quake aftershocks since 4 September 2010
Christchurch quake aftershocks since 4 September 2010
Image: christchurchquakemap.co.nz

Christchurch University are tracking aftershocks in the region since the September 2010 earthquake. A fault is deemed to be running west to east (left to right), with the aftershocks tending to move eastwards. So far they have plotted nearly five thousand aftershocks, shown in the map above. For more details go to christchurchquakemap.co.nz.

A useful selection of pictures showing some of the chaos in Christchurch.

related material
experiencing a 7.1 quake, christchurch new zealand - from our roving correspondent invincy
tectonics: tectonic plates - floating on the surface of a cauldron
earthquake severity
Richter scale
JMA seismic intensity scale

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