June 14, 2011: Earthquake in New Zealand: Another strong earthquake hit New Zealand’s South Island at 02:20 UTC on June 13, destroying buildings already weakened by two previous earthquakes that hit the region in September 2010 and February 2011. The latest event, measuring 6.0 Mw, was located 13 kilometers (8 miles) west of Christchurch and centered a shallow 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) underground, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science) recorded a magnitude of 6.3 for the event. According to the USGS, more than 430,000 people live in areas impacted by a Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) of V or higher. Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city with a population of around 364,000, experienced intensity VII on the MMI scale, equivalent to severe shaking with the potential to cause heavy damage to vulnerable structures and moderate/heavy damage to more resistant structures. The event was preceded by a 5.2 Mw earthquake and around 40 aftershocks have been recorded. GNS Science has warned the latest seismic activity is likely to trigger new aftershocks.
March 3, 2011: Update: Earthquake in New Zealand: The official death toll from the earthquake that hit New Zealand’s South Island at 23:51 UTC on February 21 has now reached 161, according to the latest reports. The epicenter of the earthquake, of magnitude 6.3, was located only 3 miles (5 km) from the city of Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island, at a shallow depth of 2.5 miles (4 km), according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
September 6, 2010: Earthquake in New Zealand: A powerful earthquake hit New Zealand at 16:35 UTC on September 3, causing widespread but generally moderate damage, according to reports. The earthquake, measuring 7.0 Mw, was located 30 miles (45 kilometers) west of Christchurch, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS added that the quake was centered a shallow 3.1 miles (5 kilometers) underground and was felt as far north as New Plymouth on the North Island. The New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) said the earthquake was the most destructive to hit New Zealand in almost 80 years, after a magnitude 7.9 tremor hit the North Island city of Napier in 1931. The GNS added that the recent earthquake occurred on an unknown fault that appears not to have ruptured for at least 16,000 years. More than 80 aftershocks have hit New Zealand’s South Island since the main earthquake, the most powerful at 5.4 Mw.