Earthquake overview : Multiple aftershocks hit the city of Christchurch and his suburbs during the early afternoon of December 23. 2 major aftershocks measuring 5.8 and 5.9 magnitude were the largest since many months.
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To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).
Video of the shaking of the M 6.0 earthquake
Michelle Collins from Christchurch captured the shaking by accident as her camcorder was still running while positioned on a Christmas tree. She talks to the NZ Herald about the experience. This is what a M 6.0 feels like if you live near the epicenter. The heavy shaking lasted "only" 10 seconds, longer would certainly have generated much more damage. Miss Collins runs immediately outside while the shaking is still going on. Not wise at all, but in her case forgivable as she was only a few meters away from the patio/garden.
Update 25/12, 08:08 UTC
An update on what is happening in Christchurch:-
Water Supply:- Water has been restored to the suburb of Sumner after a major break in the water supply at the causeway overnight. Ten water crews, 15 wastewater crews and 21 jetting crews and subcontractors are ready to start repairs and clear silt from roads and sewers across the city.
Damage:- There are large deposits of liquefaction in the following areas:
- Bexley, in the area between the Avon River and Anzac Drive, and around Horseshoe Lake
- Drake Street, Sinclair Street and Brighton Road
- Waygreen Avenue, Terrelle Street, Willryan and Rebecca avenues
- Belair Close, Vivian Street, Rockwood Avenue, Tedder Avenue and Endeavour Street
- Pinewood, Flemington, Ascot and Bower avenues
- Crofts Lane.
Pegasus Avenue and Branksome Place have suffered major liquefaction and sewage leaks.
People are urged to stay away from hill suburbs because of risk of rockfalls (according to Stuff).
Supermarkets are all working as normal apart from Countdown at the Palms (due to the mess from the earthquakes) and the online shopping service. Shoppers who had left vehicles in the centre car park are now able to collect them.
A few stores are still cleaning earthquake-mess away.
Flights:- Christchurch Airport reopened, and people affected have various options to amend their bookings.
Power:- Power has been restored to all but 30 customers, but there could be problems in New Brighton and Bexley still.
Civil Defence :- There has been a sewage overflow into the Avon River reported and people should avoid contact with the river and the estuary for 48 hours. Treatment plants are working and all the water supply is working 100%.
Tunnels:- Lyttelton tunnel is open.
Update 18:55 UTC
CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) has advised the authorities that a Christchurch wide survey of houses would be desirable. The main reason of such a check is to find out whether the houses can withstand a new strong earthquake.
Update 17:40 UTC
M 5.1 2011/12/23 17:36 Depth 9.0 km CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND
local time 06:37
One of the stronger aftershocks right below the Akaroa peninsula on a location that we had almost no aftershocks so far
10 km east of Akaroa and 50 km south-east of Christchurch
Satellite map of the greater epicenter area
Update 16:26 UTC
In Sydenham, the 100-year-old former Post Office building was demolished last night after sustaining further damage during yesterday's aftershock.
Update 16:10 UTC
29 + M 3.0 aftershocks since the mainshock!
Update 15:06 UTC - An example to all earthquake sensitive countries in the world
Telecommunications were not hit that hard as a result of the quake. The disruption noticed was due to the problems with the main power supply, which implicated that some equipment was operating on battery and generator backup.
Telecom was asking people to use texts, rather than calling, in order to ease the load on its mobile networks. Emergency calling remained operational (Earthquake-Report.com is in favor of this policy - other countries should follow this example asap (we have encountered continuous problems elsewhere in the world due to too high peaks and due to non-battery backup masts).
Update 10:52 UTC
It looks like the current epicenter can be called "little out of range" of the other powerful earthquakes. The epicenter of the initial quake who triggered the other ones was was located a little out of the coast. Hopefully this will not start off a new episode of aftershocks
Update 10:51 UTC
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has traveled back to the city to assess the situation.
Update 10:43 UTC
Since the mainshock we have counted 20 aftershocks. 3 aftershocks had a magnitude equal or bigger than M 5.0 - 11 where M 4.0 up to M 4.9 and 6 were in between M 3 and M 4. Looking at the current profile we see a gradual decrease in strength.
Update 07:58 UTC : At this time there are still thousands of people without power.
Update - Police report issued at 08:51 Pm local time : Christchurch Police are focusing on reassurance and public safety as the city reels from severe aftershocks this afternoon. Acting District Commander Inspector John Price says the city has again proved resilient following the swarm of tremors that included a magnitude 5.8 shake at 1.58pm and a 6.0 at 3.18pm. "Fortunately there have been no reports of serious or widespread damage or injury. No fatalities resulting from the aftershocks have been reported. "Police and other emergency services responded rapidly as the afternoon's events unfolded.
"All available Police units were mobilized across the city to provide a high-visibility reassurance presence and check on safety and damage - especially out in the Eastern suburbs. "That focus on reassurance will continue tomorrow. We will be working with CERA, the Fire Service, MSD and other agencies to coordinate a major door-knocking operation in the Eastern suburbs tomorrow to check on residents' safety and welfare. "We urge residents to check on their neighbours and make sure people nearby are safe and well. "Today's aftershocks will put added stress on people at what is already a stressful time of year. We hope people avoid adding too much alcohol into that mix - we don't need disorder and crime on top of today's events." Inspector Price says Police were continuing to advise motorists to exercise caution on the roads. "This was already a busy time of year, and there are indications that the volume of traffic heading out of town has been increasing steadily. "During the afternoon we saw significant congestion across the city as people rushed to get home or check on friends and family. "We continue to urge motorists to slow down and be patient." Police say some new damage to roads has been reported in the Eastern suburbs, similar to what those areas have experienced previously. Inspector Price says the Christchurch Central Police station is continuing to operate. The building has been checked twice this afternoon by engineers, and is safe to access. As with previous earthquakes, floors above Level 4 currently have limited access until repairs have been made to superficial damage including fallen ceiling tiles and cracked infill panels.
Update : The quake has cut power to about 26,000 households. The power companies have warned customers that they may expect regular power cuts during the following days (for repair work)
Update : After inspection Airport personnel have found NO damage at the runways. The airport is again open for arrivals and departures since the beginning of the evening (local time)
Update : All passenger and freight trains services in the Canterbury region were stopped following the earthquake that struck just before 2pm this afternoon.
Update : More aftershocks are expected to happen the coming hours, days and even weeks
Update : In an update police has reported that so far 60 people have been reported injured but luckily still no serious injuries
Update : Power and telecommunications have been disrupted
Update : People have been very lucky that the second more powerful and closer to the city earthquake occurred after that the Police had cordoned the Commercial district after the first earthquake
Update : Police reported that 19 people have been treated for minor injuries
Update : The earthquakes were felt as far as Queenstown and Lower Hutt
Update : Somebody wrote us : Much rocking and rolling but no breakages. Rivers of silt running in Christchurch and it's appalling. No students about to help shovel this time either. The malls - full of Christmas shoppers - all evacuated which is dreadful for both shoppers and shopkeepers
Video footage from One News New Zealand
Three severe quakes rock Christchurch (4:02)
Christchurch earthquake: Bob Parker interview (3:56)
Christchurch earthquake: ONE News update (0:25)
Christchurch earthquake: Reaction in the city (6:26)
Christchurch earthquake: GNS expert (3:28)
Update : A maxd. MMI of VIII (severe shaking) has been experienced by a few people following USGS
75,000 people have been shaken very strong and 302,000 people have experienced a strong MMI VI shaking. All potentially damaging values
Update : The very powerful shaking maps from Geonet (it takes some time too load them!)
. And another liquefaction video.
Update : Christchurch people are in shock, as live was gradually going back to normal since the February quake.
Update : At least 2 people have been injured during the series of quakes
Update : Christchurch International Airport has been closed after the severe shocks
Update : land and rockslides have caused problems on some roads in the vicinity of Christchurch
Update : Especially the second more shallow M 6.0 earthquake with an epicenter right below the beach will have been dangerous. The first one was a little out in the sea and a little deeper weakening the impact
Update : GNS science New Zealand reports a magnitude of 5.8 at a depth of 8 km for the first one and a magnitude of 6.0 at a depth of 6 km for the second one
Location of the 5.8 earthquake following GNS science
Location of the 6.0 earthquake following GNS science
Update : Stuff.co.nz writes : A swarm of quakes - including a magnitude 6 and three at or above magnitude 5 - have hit Christchurch, toppling already damaged buildings, injuring residents and disrupting power, phone services and retailers. The first quake - magnitude 5.8 quake, 8km deep and centred 20km north east of Lyttelton - struck at 1.58pm, GeoNet said. It was followed by a magnitude 5.3 quake at 2.06pm, a magnitude 6 quake - the largest - at 3.18pm and a 5.0, just 10 km deep, at 4.50pm.
A m5.8 and m5.3 earthquake have hit christchurch. However there is only minor damage reported, rockfalls, and 1 person slightly injured in a mall. 20 additional people are being treated for panic attacks. Stuff.co.nz has a full report on this earthquake including a description of liquefaction in new brighton, rockfalls in scarborough and 4 people who had to be rescued. Power outages occurred briefly and some damage to the winz building occurred.
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"I Have Felt It" reports as received by Earthquake-Report.com
Christchurch : And another one, that one was even bigger, so 6+ Really not good!
Christchurch : Another big shake in Christchurch! 5.8, a few km off New Brighton, more liquefaction in the eastern suburbs, and more cliff collapses. Just before Christmas too, not good.
Christchurch : Fridge was shaking
Christchurch : Moderate shaking indicated (MMI V)
Christchurch : Much rocking and rolling but no breakages. Rivers of silt running in Christchurch and it's appalling. No students about to help shovel this time either. The malls - full of Christmas shoppers - all evacuated which is dreadful for both shoppers and shopkeepers
Christchurch : I would also like to add that there isn't much damage because there isn't much LEFT to be damaged!
With liquefaction in the eastern suburbs and rock falls in Sumner, it is comparable to February and June, although more like June with the double quakes
Christchurch : Add another 5.8, although it felt bigger than the first one, probably 6+ And it has been so quiet lately!
Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 5.8 and 5.9
UTC Time : 00:58:36 UTC and 02:18:02 UTC
Local time at epicenter : 01:58:36 PM at epicenter and 03:18:02 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 4.7 km and 4.9 km
26 km (16 miles) ENE of Christchurch, New Zealand
Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map 1
USGS Did You Feel It Map 2
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area 1
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area 2
Historic earthquakes map
Seismic hazard map
Shaking map 1
Shaking map 2
Focal mechanism report 1
Focal mechanism report 2
Human impact map 1
Human impact map 2
GDACS earthquake report 1
GDACS earthquake report 2
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I did feel it – Ik heb het gevoeld – Το έκανα αισθάνεται –Yo lo he sentido – 我的确感到了 – 私はそれを感じていました- Ich habe es gefühlt – Bunu hissediyorum yaptı – لم أشعر أنه