Extremely dangerous shallow aftershock in Christchurch, New Zealand

This article will be ended as it is getting too long. We have copied the last 10 updates in the second part. Click here for the second part for our continuous reporting on the Christchurch earthquake.
- Click here to go directly to part 2
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UPDATE 05:11 UTC : We are sorry to tell that 17 people have been reported killed so far (official statement by the Christchurch police)

A bus crashed by debris in Christchurch - image courtesy Stuff.co.nz

UPDATE 05:00 UTC : State of Emergency has been called for at least the next 5 days. This not for eventual looting but to give all possible freedom for emergency services.

UPDATE 04:57 UTC : Pyne Gould Corporation has confirmed that staff from the building are missing, but would not say how many.

UPDATE 04:53 UTC : We repeat that the destruction is NOT widespread and residential areas at the outskirts of town have not been damaged severely. Most of the damage is located in the city center and in Lyttelton which was the epicenter of the earthquake.
Also Brighton got the full shaking load.

UPDATE 04:49 UTC : It is currently summer in New Zealand and the weather is good.

UPDATE 04:48 UTC : No numbers on fatalities yet. Our theoretical models predict a maximum of 100 fatalities and max. 400 wounded. These are theoretical prediction models.

UPDATE 04:44 UTC : New Zealand blood service appeals for urgent blood donations

UPDATE 04:43 UTC : 30 people are still trapped in the collapsed Pine Gould building

UPDATE 04:42 UTC : Hospitals all around New Zealand South Island are being cleared to take hundreds of injured people from Christchurch.

UPDATE 04:39 UTC : Christchurch hospital is fully operational again. Some parts of the hospital are damaged.

UPDATE 04:37 UTC : A lot of people have been injured by shattered glass flying around when wall crumbled.

UPDATE 04:30 UTC : Sniffer dogs from rescue teams are currently searching the debris for survivors.

UPDATE 04:28 UTC : The residential areas in Christchurch have not been affected by the big devastations. A couple of bigger buildings in the center have been collapsed or heavily damaged.
It was just the end of the lunch time in Christchurch when the earthquake struck.

UPDATE 04:26 UTC : It will take many more hours before rescuers will be able to get people out of the rubble.

UPDATE 04:20 UTC : Aftershocks are continuously pounding the epicenter area and create a great risk for those buried under the rubble and for other unstable buildings to collapse.

UPDATE 04:13 UTC : Aftershocks so far : 4,7, 4.5, 4.4, 3.4, 4.0, 5.5, 4.6, 4.5 and 5.0

UPDATE 04:10 UTC : The CTV building (Christchurch TV building) seems to be completely destroyed

UPDATE 04:09 UTC : Christchurch ran out of ambulances and ambulances are called in from many other locations.

UPDATE 04:08 UTC : Some buildings are in fire due to broken gas pipes.

UPDATE 04:07 UTC : We repeat that Australian SkyNews can be followed on continuous LIVE broadcasting by clicking the following link.  Click here to be linked to the Australian Live Telecast

UPDATE 04:05 UTC : USGS Pager has published his revision after the heavy earthquake. Nearly 7,000 people have experienced a VIOLENT SHAKING. Click here to see the latest data

UPDATE 03:55 UTC : A number of City Center hotels have been seriously damaged. No word of injured or casualties there.

UPDATE 03:50 UTC : At least 3 major buildings have been collapsed and a lot of people are still under the debris.

UPDATE 03:50 UTC : The New Zealand government has accepted help from outside the country. The help would be specialized Search and Rescue teams.

UPDATE 03:48 UTC : Earthquake experts like Guido Magenes and Jason Ingham are on site for assessment and help. Many earthquake experts were in Queenstown last week for a conference on masonry. The earthquake experts were having lunch in Christchurch when the earthquake struck

UPDATE 03:46 UTC : TV New Zealand video footage just after the earthquake struck

UPDATE 03:36 UTC : Rescue teams from New Plymouth and Auckland will be send to the Christchurch and will be active within 4 to 5 hours.

UPDATE 03:35 UTC : Authorities are warning people for possible very powerful aftershocks.

UPDATE 03:34 UTC : Prime minister of New Zealand is currently having a press conference

UPDATE 03:31 UTC : Lyttelton tunnel is of course closed. Phone lines are operating but as said earlier operating is certainly not a smooth operating.

UPDATE 03:30 UTC : The earthquake occurred luckily during daylight at 9 minutes to one.  We repeat that this earthquake was far more damaging than the 7.1 earthquake from September because of the very shallow depth of 5 km and the epicenter in a very populated area. Scientists will examine asap what caused the earthquake to occur on the present epicenter location.

UPDATE 03:22 UTC : People who are missing loved ones or having news on people who might have been missed can enter the details in a special PEOPLE FINDER SITE . Click here for the webpage.

UPDATE 03:19 UTC : The Christchurch Cathedral has mostly collapsed

UPDATE 03:18 UTC : The number of casualties based on the WAPMERR model are :
0 to 100 killed people
0 to 400 people injured

UPDATE 03:15 UTC : The 4 storey Pine Gould Building which has normally 200 people working in it has collapsed. People are screaming from under the wreckage. Rescue workers are trying to liberate people.

UPDATE 03:10 UTC : Two buses have been crushed by falling buildings.

UPDATE 03:08 UTC : Australian TV is covering the earthquake with Live telecast from New Zealand.
They are taking the images directly out of New Zealand and the Australian network is less busy than the New Zealand one. Click here to be linked to the Australian Live Telecast

UPDATE 03:00 UTC : Bodies have been seen being taken out of the damaged YHA hostel in the city.

Christchurch earthquake February 22 2011

UPDATE 02:54 UTC : As earlier reported, the airport is closed to all but emergency flights

UPDATE 02:52 UTC : Police said two buses had been crushed by falling debris, while witnesses said screams could be heard coming from the Pyne Gould Business building where up to 150 people were feared trapped.

UPDATE 02:51 UTC : This earthquake is a real TRAGEDY for New Zealand. Hardly recovered from the September 7.1 quake, this earthquake will increase the damage and the reconstruction efforts even more + additionally - Christchurch residents will always be remembered at this cruel day.

UPDATE 02:45 UTC : Following the Christchurch police, people have been killed in different locations in the city.

UPDATE 02:44 UTC : Following the Christchurch police, people are still trapped in collapsed buildings.

UPDATE 02:42 UTC : Part of the emergency department of the Christchurch hospital is damaged and hospital staff have to work on less capacity.

UPDATE 02:39 UTC : Many buildings have collapsed in Lyttelton. Lyttelton was the epicenter of this earthquake.

UPDATE 02:33 UTC : Earthquake-Report is bringing you breaking news as it comes available. We use hundreds of sources worldwide to obtain reliable information.

UPDATE 02:22 UTC : More disturbing images (source Plixi.com)

UPDATE 02:16 UTC : People from all over the world are heavily downloading QUAKESOS, our earthquake iPhone app. powered by the cruel news of the Christchurch earthquake.

Twitter picture of a crumbled house after the February 22 2011 earthquake

UPDATE 02:12 UTC : Power is off at about 80% of Christchurch

UPDATE 02:11 UTC : Another aftershock measuring 5.5 at a shallow depth of 5 km occurred at 2:50 PM local time. These strong aftershocks are terribly dangerous for unstable houses and constructions.  Within 5 km of Diamond Harbour and Within 5 km of Lyttelton

UPDATE 02:06 UTC : First picture are showing that some houses are completely devastated. It looks not on a widespread destruction but based on videos a limited number of buildings who have been completely devastated.

UPDATE 01:57 UTC : Reports of a lot of liquefaction in the central city (liquefaction is when the soil is strating to become fluid ! by the shaking)

UPDATE 01:56 UTC : During September 2010 earthquake, the Christchurch residents continued to use the internet to get to the outside world. Today everything is SILENT.  Very few reports are getting out. The major TV stations are starting to operate because of their Independence of power and satellite links.

UPDATE 01:50 UTC : Video footage of the moment that the earthquake struck

UPDATE 01:43 UTC : Police has confirmed fatalities - Christchurch Cathedral has been very badly damaged and at least 1 person is trapped inside.  Christchurch hospital is also very damaged.

UPDATE 01:40 UTC : A church near the RNZ building in Durham St had collapsed

UPDATE 01:39 UTC : Telecom tries to restore communication as quick as possible.

UPDATE 01:38 UTC : Advise has been given to NOT use Cellphones or Landlines  as the connection is chaotic

UPDATE 01:35 UTC : Residents in Christchurch are being asked to stay off the roads to allow emergency services to get through

UPDATE 01:32 UTC : As could be expected from this shallow quake, the damage is worse than during the 7.1 earthquake from September. there is rubble all over the streets.

UPDATE 01:30 UTC : Prime Minister John Key said in Parliament he has called an emergency cabinet meeting for 3pm

UPDATE 01:27 UTC : The earthquake was felt as far as Dunedin

UPDATE 01:26 UTC : Canterbury press reports MANY FATALITIES

UPDATE 01:25 UTC : Reports of casualties during the Christchurch earthquake

UPDATE 01:20 UTC : The heavily damaging reports did come from Oxford, Saint Kilda and Waikiri

UPDATE 01:18 UTC : Those among you who want to read of the main earthquake in 2010 can click on the following link . We have written multiple articles on the Christchurch earthquake.
todays earthquake is considerably less in Magnitude but has the capacity to be much more damaging

UPDATE 01:15 UTC : Geonet received so far :
3 Felt reports who state Heavily damaging
7 Damaging reports
56 slightly damaging.

UPDATE 01:12 UTC : Felt reports of people are much more reliable to find out the center of the earthquake than the measured reports from USGS, GEONET or EMSC.

UPDATE 01:12 UTC : If we enter GEONET parameters the epicenter should be just out of the Lyttelton port. This has to be confirmed. Click here to see the corresponding map

UPDATE 01:06 UTC : Radio New Zealand talks about WIDESPREAD DESTRUCTION in the city center

UPDATE 01:00 UTC : So far our QUAKESOS iPhone application has NOT YET received any signals out of the epicenter area, although we are convinced that people have registered the app in Christchurch. The cause maybe an interruption of Mobile data traffic

UPDATE 00:55 UTC : This earthquake is extremely dangerous because it occurred in a very populated area with a hypocenter almost on the surface (compare it with a extremely powerful bomb exploding very close to the surface)

UPDATE 00:52 UTC : There are reports of whole houses ruined and completely devastated

UPDATE 00:49 UTC : Christchurch Airport has been closed without setting a time of reopening.

UPDATE 00:48 UTC : Radio New Zealand is mentioning unconfirmed reports of injuries.

UPDATE 00:43 UTC : All the necessary links to the different maps and seismograms are currently active (bottom of the page).

UPDATE 00:37 UTC : An aftershock of magnitude 5.6 rattled the same area 13 minutes after the mainshock

UPDATE 00:35 UTC : The Canterbury news sites are still active but cannot be reached at the moment.

UPDATE 00:32 UTC : USGS theoretical calculation models are expecting a VIOLENT SHAKING for 176,000 people !

UPDATE 00:30 UTC : The servers of the New Zealand Canterbury news sites are bard too reach - everybody is trying to get news from the epicenter area

UPDATE 00:22 UTC : GDACS published a GREEN earthquake alert for this earthquake = very limited chance on damage and/or injuries. Earthquake-Report does not agree with GDACS on this earthquake

UPDATE 00:20 UTC : GEONET New-Zealand reports also a Magnitude of 6.3 at a depth of 5 km.
Epicenter 5 km from Lyttelton, 5 km from Diamond Harbor and 10 km South-East of Christchurch

Very strong Magnitude 6.3 earthquake (aftershock) in New Zealand South Island
Following USGS the epicenter (extremely shallow) is right under Christchurch (5 km)

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 6.3
UTC time : Monday, February 21, 2011 at 23:51:42 UTC
Local time at epicenter :  Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 12:51:42 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 4 km
Quake-maps.com satellite map + I Did Feel It form
Geo-location(s) :

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map of the area showing the kind of terrain the earthquake took place (error margin possible)
3-dimensional view of the earthquake area (USGS epicenter location)
USGS Shaking map
USGS historic earthquakes map
USGS impact on population map
USGS Seismic hazard map
LIVE SEISMOGRAM (nearest Seismograph station)
GDACS Green Earthquake Alert (Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System)

QuakeSOS+ is an iPhone application developed by Armand Vervaeck, the creator and main contributor to Earthquake Report. The Application simplifies immediate group communication to friends and family members (with your exact GPS location) and is constantly feeding the users with œEarthquake Report news. Together with your own family and friends, QuakeSOS+ will be your closest earthquake friend. Buying QuakeSOS+ will support the activities of SOS Earthquakes.


Quake-Maps.com was also created by SOS Earthquakes. Quake-Maps.com makes it easy to let the world know which shaking people have experienced during the earthquake. Quake-Maps.com gives also the opportunity to write some additional text. Filling up the form takes only 1 minute. Quake-Maps.com gives an overview of all the resent earthquakes and let you even go back in time and retrieve earthquakes of a certain date in the past.

Earthquake-Report.com headlines on twitter
@OnlyQuakeNews : Get all the headlines of our earthquake-report.com articles + regular updates on ongoing events
@QuakeSOS : earthquake-report.com news + automatic earthquake notifications of USGS earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in the America's and the Pacific Ocean sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was created for our QuakeSOS and QuakeSOS+ iPhone applications
@ShakingEarth : earthquake-report.com news + automatic earthquake notifications of EMSC earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in European and Asian / Middle East sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was originally created to stimulate our Facebook account
@QuakeMaps : earthquake-report.com news with mapping notifications of ALL earthquakes M 3.0 and higher from all over the world via EMSC and USGS. This account was created for our http://www.quake-maps.com website


  1. Michael Hook says

    I also want to get up there and help. If anyone can help me contact anyone that will organise volunteers please contact me at michaelhook24@gmail.com . I am not a tradesmen, i dont have any skills like one as such, but i can use tools and really want to help. If i can do anything I will get up there asap. Hope to hear from anyone soon.

  2. Sorry to all the family's that lost a loved one on the 22 of February it must be very hard for you all I know that if I lost my mum or dad or evan any family I would be so sad!

    I am praying that nobody else dies.Jennifer

  3. I'd love to get there and help too, can you let me know if you hear if they need nurses thanx good luck. My prayers are with all in Christchurch and their loved ones. Sue

  4. Brendon Leblanc says

    help me help christchurch. I'm hitchhiking to christchurch to volunteer and help in anyway possible. If someone could email me any contact info of where to go or who to meet up with then i can guide other helpers to pull people out or set up releif shelters and apply basic first aid. burnsdeoleblanc@hotmail.com

    • Hi Brendon,
      There are search and rescue teams on site. Please do adhere to what they say.
      In many cases at this early stage there will be nothing that can be done, as there are many aftershocks.
      It is important to let the experienced staff and these USAR teams to do their job.
      We will update you if public can do anything to help, as soon as available.
      The most important first thing to do is to donate blood.
      In the coming days, help will be needed.

    • Hi Brendon,
      Iam thinking of flying out to NZ from Perth, as you I would do anything from making sandwiches, to whatever, but also have the problem who to contact in NZ. I appreciate James comment so maybe I can be of help later in the comming day's/ week


    • Yes, there will be much need for help in the coming days. For the first 24 hours, from my experience looking at other earthquake occurrences, it is very important to leave the Urban Search and Rescue teams a very clear attempt to get all the trapped victims out and to secure the area.
      That is great all of you who want to help out. I am sure that anything will be much appreciated in the coming days, weeks and months.
      All the best,

  5. Any news on Diamond Harbour destruction from Feb 22 earthquake?

    • Armand Vervaeck says

      Damaged yes - Lyttelton is heavily damaged, but all media is focused on a couple of buildings in the city center.
      We will check soon - follow our updates

  6. Forsythe Bar Building - 24 people trapped in the building.....17th FLOOR
    They are being saved at the moment.