Strong 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits New Zealand September 4, 2010 - 3:49AM New Zealand time WILL UPDATE AS I CAN

Cat 2010/09/03 18:08:49
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Strong 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits New Zealand

Powerful 7.1 quake hits New Zealand's South Island
hits zealand powerful 7 1 quake hits zealands south island
AP/NZPA, David Alexander
A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck much of New Zealand's South Island. More photos »

By RAY LILLEY, Associated Press Writer Ray Lilley, Associated Press Writer – 40 mins ago

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck much of New Zealand's South Island early Saturday and caused widespread damage, but there were just two reports of serious injuries. Looters broke into some damaged shops in Christchurch, police said.

The quake, which hit 19 miles (30 kilometers) west of the southern city of Christchurch according to the state geological agency GNS Science, shook a wide area, with some residents saying buildings had collapsed and power was severed. No tsunami alert was issued.

GNS Science initially reported the quake as magnitude 7.4, but later downgraded it after re-examining quake records. The U.S. Geological Survey, in America, measured the quake at 7.0.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker declared a state of emergency four hours after the quake rocked the region, warning people that continuing aftershocks could cause masonry to fall from damaged buildings.

The emergency meant parts of the city would be closed off and some buildings closed as unsafe, he said.

Minister of Civil Defense John Carter said a state of civil emergency was declared as the quake was "a significant disaster," and army troops were on standby to assist.

Parker said the "sharp, vicious earthquake has caused significant damage in parts of the city ... with walls collapsed that have fallen into the streets."

Chimneys and walls had fallen from older buildings, with roads blocked, traffic lights out and power, gas and water supplies disrupted, he said.

"The fronts of at least five buildings in the central city have collapsed and rubble is strewn across many roads," Christchurch resident Angela Morgan told The Associated Press.

"Roads have subsided where water mains have broken and a lot of people evacuated in panic from seaside areas for fear of a tsunami," she said, adding that "there is quite significant damage, really, with reports that some people were trapped in damaged houses."

Christchurch fire service spokesman Mike Bowden said a number of people had been trapped in buildings by fallen chimneys and blocked entrances, but there were no reports of people pinned under rubble. Rescue teams were out checking premises.

Christchurch Hospital said it had treated two men with serious injuries and a number of people with minor injuries.

One man was hit by a falling chimney and was in serious condition in intensive care, while a second was badly cut by glass, hospital spokeswoman Michele Hider said.

Christchurch police reported road damage in parts of the city of 400,000 people, with a series of sharp aftershocks rocking the area. Police officers cordoned off some streets where rubble was strewn about. Video showed parked cars crushed by heaps of fallen bricks, and buckled roads.

"There is considerable damage in the central city and we've also had reports of looting, just shop windows broken and easy picking of displays," Police Inspector Mike Coleman told New Zealand's National Radio.

Police Inspector Alf Stewart told the radio that some people had been arrested for looting.

"We have some reports of people smashing (storefront) windows and trying to grab some property that is not theirs ... we've got police on the streets and we're dealing with that," he said.

Suburban dweller Mark O'Connell said his house was full of smashed glass, food tossed from shelves, with sets of drawers, TVs and computers tipped over.

"She was a beauty, we were thrown from wall to wall as we tried to escape down the stairs to get to safety," he told the AP. "It was pitch black (with the power cut) and we walked through smashed glass everywhere on the floor."

The quake hit at 4:35 a.m. (1635 GMT) shaking thousands of residents awake, New Zealand's National Radio reported. Some 12 aftershocks have rocked the region since, ranging from 5.3 to 3.9 in magnitude, GNS Science reported on its web site.

Prime Minister John Key, Carter and Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee were to fly to Christchurch to inspect damage and review the situation, officials said.

Civil defense agency spokesman David Millar said at least six bridges in the region had been badly damaged, while the historic Empire hotel in the port town of Lyttelton was "very unstable" and in danger of collapse. Roads, shops and other buildings in rural towns around Christchurch had also suffered damage, with some shop fronts knocked down in the jolt.

Inspector Coleman said residents of the city's low-lying eastern suburbs had been advised to be ready to evacuate their properties, after power, gas, sewerage and water systems were cut by the quake.

Resident Colleen Simpson said panicked residents ran into the street in their pajamas. Some buildings had collapsed, there was no power, and the mobile telephone network had failed.

"Oh my God. There is a row of shops completely demolished right in front of me," Simpson told the Stuff news Web site.

Kiwirail rail transport group spokesman Kevin Ramshaw said 13 mostly freight trains had been halted on South Island lines, with some damage already confirmed to rail lines north of Christchurch.

Christchurch International Airport was closed after the quake as a precaution, as experts checked runways and terminal buildings, a spokesman said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said "no destructive widespread tsunami threat existed, based on historical earthquake and tsunami data."

New Zealand sits above an area of the Earth's crust where two tectonic plates collide. The country records more than 14,000 earthquakes a year — but only about 150 are felt by residents. Fewer than 10 a year do any damage.

New Zealand's last major earthquake was a magnitude 7.8 in South Island's Fiordland region on July 16, 2009 — a tremblor which moved the southern tip of the country 12 inches (30 centimeters) closer to Australia, seismologist Ken Gledhill said at the time.

Gledhill, director of GNS Science's "GeoNet" national earthquake monitoring project, said the island's geographic shift showed the immensity of the forces involved.

September 4, 2010 - 3:49AM

    A strong 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked New Zealand's second largest city Saturday morning, causing a series of aftershocks and power outages in the city.

    The quake struck at a depth of 16.1 kilometres (10.0 miles) some 30 kilometres (19 miles) northwest of the island's largest city of Christchurch at 04:05 am (1635 GMT Friday), the US Geological Survey said.

    Aftershocks were ongoing and damage widespread, local newspaper The Post reported, while there appeared to be a power outage throughout much of Christchurch, a city of about 340,000 on the island's east coast.

    By Gyles Beckford

    WELLINGTON | Fri Sep 3, 2010 6:09pm EDT

    WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A major earthquake hit New Zealand's second biggest city Christchurch early on Saturday, bringing down power lines, ripping up roads and wrecking building facades, but authorities reported no deaths.

    Authorities declared a formal civil defense state of emergency to coordinate recovery operations in the city, which has a population of about 350,000 people, after facades collapsed into streets, crushing cars and blocking roads.

    Two men suffered serious injuries and police closed off the central business district.

    The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.1 and a depth of 10 kms (6 miles), hitting the South Island city and a large surrounding area of farms at around 4.35 a.m. local time (12:35 p.m. EDT Friday).

    "There's a lot of damage that I've been able to observe in the central city area, mainly of the old brick and masonry buildings, a number of those have got walls that have fallen into the street," Christchurch mayor Bob Parker told Radio New Zealand.

    The city's hospital said two men had been admitted with serious injuries, one hit by a falling chimney and the other cut by glass. It had also treated a few other people with broken bones, cuts and grazes.

    Police said there were several instances of looting, which had been quickly contained. In the suburbs many houses had broken windows, toppled chimneys, cracked walls and items thrown off shelves.

    Power was out over a large area of the city and surrounding region as circuit breakers were tripped at substations, but was being progressively restored after safety checks.

    Water and sewage services were also disrupted, and there were reports of subsidence in some roads.


    Officials were checking how severe the damage was in rural areas, closer to the epicenter, west of the city.

    Ray O'Donnell, owner of a hotel in Darfield, a small farming community around 20 kms (12 miles) west of Christchurch, said large cracks had appeared in rural roads near the epicenter.

    GNS Science, the New Zealand government seismological agency, revised its reading of the quake to magnitude 7.1 from an original 7.4. The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported it at 7.4 but later revised its figure to 7.0.

    The city's airport was shut as the runway and facilities were checked, and the railway network and bridges throughout the region were also being checked for damage.

    The quake was felt as a long rolling motion lasting up to 40 seconds. The area was continuing to feel aftershocks as strong as magnitude 5.2.

    "It was a real rocker, and (we're) still getting aftershocks. (It) felt like the house was flying on a whirlwind," Tessa Hay, who lives around 12 km north of the city, told Reuters.

    Because the quake occurred inland there was no danger of a tsunami. "No destructive widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical earthquake and tsunami data," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

    New Zealand scientists record around 14,000 earthquakes a year, of which around 20 top magnitude 5.0.

    The last fatal earthquake in the geologically active country, caught between the Pacific and Indo-Australian tectonic plates, was in 1968 when an earthquake measuring 7.1 killed three people on the South Island's West Coast.

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    • ThePumpkinator 2010/09/13 22:44:13
      what happened?
    • LostAngel 2010/09/05 04:53:08
      Damn. Hope all is relatively well there.
    • LQ~phaet 2010/09/04 03:23:20
      I used to daydream about moving there......hope everyone there is doing okay.
    • TruBluTopaz 2010/09/04 02:11:59
      Luckily the epicenter was away from towns. Unfortunately, aftershocks can be almost as large and destructive. New Zealand is a very small country with mainly rural industries. I hope they have managed to preserve some of their infrastructure.
    • Spider20 2010/09/03 23:39:20
      Plates in the Pacific are on the move again......
    • Greg 2010/09/03 22:02:05
      Anyone with friends or family there, be patient. I was in Asia during a big quake several years ago and didn't even realize anyone here was worried until days later, due to sketchy communications and TV coverage. I knew there was a big quake, but didn't realize the severity and that it made world news.
      Just be patient and pray until you hear from your loved ones, they are most likely OK.
    • Cat Greg 2010/09/03 22:35:21
      PERECT, thank you
    • akgold 2010/09/03 21:00:16
      More information and pictures here. So far only 2 serious injuries reported.

    • Faith,♥ Maranatha! 2010/09/03 19:32:11
      Faith,♥ Maranatha!
      My dear lord Jesus!! I pray that there were no casualities. That BIG though, unlikely!! Pray for them!!
    • SXYSU71US 2010/09/03 19:02:55
      you can call me a jesus nut. But these are the birthpangs we r being warned about. People wake up, end of days are near... When the mark of the beast you need to pray to the lord to control your body. U mite think, im strong enough to not take the mark.. But think of Peter, a follower of Christ. Jesus told him you will deny 3 times before the rooster crows... That is what will happen , so just pray for GOD to control your thoughts when that day happens
    • mypinks... SXYSU71US 2010/09/03 22:58:33
      Jesus nut.
    • SXYSU71US mypinks... 2010/09/05 15:35:49 (edited)
      MERCY ON YOUR SOUL!!!! Well you shouldn't blasphemy GOD... And nonbelievers who make fun of JESUS FREAKS will BURN IN THE LAKE OF FIRE.. Read your bible. And i did ask GOD to have mercy on yor soul... So your welcome
    • mypinks... SXYSU71US 2010/09/05 21:25:57
      You said, quote, "You can call me a Jesus nut", so I was just doing what you said, then you tell me I am going to the first to burn in hell? How very sympathetic, and Christian, of you :)
    • Lady Whitewolf 2010/09/03 18:41:05
      Lady Whitewolf
      Wow.... will have to check my Earthquake watcher later.
    • Cat Lady Wh... 2010/09/03 22:35:52
      that's where I got this
    • gary-da fuz 2010/09/03 18:25:28
      gary-da fuz
      Dang that was a big one !! i pray there all safe
    • Magic Twanger 2010/09/03 18:24:17
      Magic Twanger
      I will pray, no loss of life and sorry this happened, I hope all is well and no major damage. Christchurch is a lovely city. Really a sad thing, I live in Southern California, I know the fear and upset this kind of disaster can bring.
    • johnc 2010/09/03 18:22:31
      Bama just blamed Bush,and republicans, Al Gore blamed global warming, then went back to get his massage.
    • Huki68 2010/09/03 18:20:30
    • Gun665 2010/09/03 18:20:10
    • keeper 2010/09/03 18:18:28
      Thanx for the update...We all know some people from that part of the world...
    • ☼ Homeward Bound ☼ 2010/09/03 18:17:44 (edited)
      ☼ Homeward Bound ☼
      Check this out...

      It was four miles from a place called CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND

    • Cat ☼ Homew... 2010/09/03 18:38:34
      I will not touch THAT WEBSITE
    • ☼ Homew... Cat 2010/09/03 19:55:48
      ☼ Homeward Bound ☼
      Fine by me......it was just the first one that reported more than others.....relax.
    • Moonwalkin' Enigma 2010/09/03 18:15:49
      Moonwalkin' Enigma
      I hope everyone was okay and that they recover from such a 'quake. It's rediculous how strong these earthquakes have become.
    • lin sugar lips 2010/09/03 18:12:55
      lin sugar lips
      Wow!! We need to hold those people in our prayers
    • ☆The Rock☆ * AFCL* The Sheriff!!
      Matthew 24 and Luke 21 is being prophecied..It plainly says there will be earthquakes in divers places, or diverse place..Yea, and all the atheists think I am crazy too!

    • dayofwrath ☆The Ro... 2010/09/04 03:49:44
      It is the beginning.

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