Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Christchurch Earthquake

Just after 1400 hrs today I received a text from a friend who is visiting Christchurch to say that there had been another large earthquake in the City.   It immediately became obvious that the quake was significantly more serious than the larger quake last September which was further away from Christchurch, much deeper and, most importantly, instead of being in the middle of the night when CBD (Central Business District = City Centre) was empty it happened just before 1pm when the buildings and streets were full.  Communication with the City had been temporarily cut off when power and telecommunications lines were disrupted or destroyed.  It took a short while for the television and radio networks (which were themselves damaged) to get up and running with their independent satellite equipment.

Reference Number3468575[View event in Google Maps]
Universal TimeFebruary 21 2011 at 23:51
NZ Daylight TimeTuesday, February 22 2011 at 12:51 pm
Latitude, Longitude43.60°S, 172.71°E
Focal Depth5 km
Richter magnitude6.3
  • Within 5 km of Lyttelton
  • Within 5 km of Diamond Harbour
  • 10 km south-east of Christchurch

Living in New Zealand one is constantly aware of earthquakes which, generally speaking, do little serious damage.   If one lives in Napier the effect of the 1931 earthquake which destroyed the City with huge loss of life and very significant geological effect in the area one is even more aware of what can happen.

However I cannot explain the feelings of anxiety knowing that someone you know and care about is involved even when you know that they survived the initial quake unscathed.  I cannot even begin to imagine how people with relatives and friends who are missing are feeling at this time.  At the time I'm writing this 65 have been confirmed dead but it is expected that that number will rise.

A State of Emergency has been declared.

The television and radio have been on the air with updating news since the quake.  The friend who texted had no idea of the seriousness at the time because they had no power and therefore no TV or radio.   See TV NZ.  


  1. GB I just picked up this news from elsewhere in the blog world. Since we're 12 hrs behind you it was not in my morning paper and I did not have radio or TV on this morning so a blog comment was how I first heard! I found the GeoNet website and that's where I first understood the magnitude. I'm so sorry. For you I can only send my hopes that the friends you know personally will come out of it "okay".

  2. Thoughts and prayer to everyone there

  3. Just checking in to make sure you're ok...
    Watching coverage here in Scotland. Terrible scenes.

  4. As soon as I heard there was an earthquake in NZ, I started worrying about bloggers who write from there. I see that you're okay. I hope the people you love and care about are safe.

  5. I'm doing my best...........willing the poor buggers to survive.....it's horrendous.
    Nothing I can do but you have my sympathy out there.