Damaging Quake Hits Canterbury, “Massive Aftershock” – updated

The sixth largest earthquake since the  magnitude 7.1  September 4th quake, struck Canterbury this morning, forcing shops near the epicentre to close.

The magnitude 5.5 quake hit at 9.09am and was centred 20km south west of Christchurch near Rolleston at a depth of 15 km. It was felt widely over the South Island and as far north as Gisborne in the North Island where it registered as MM4.

The EQC announced that this quake was to be regarded as a new quake for insurance purposes and not an aftershock.

It was followed by two more quakes later in the day – a magnitude 3.8 11.41am., 10km deep at  Weedons, about 4km from Rolleston. The last was a magnitude 4.5, 10km deep which struck near Rolleston at 5.04pm. There have been 18 earthquakes in the wider Canterbury region in the last 24 hours. source

Stuff reported on the first quake , saying

“The Warehouse in Rolleston has closed for a few hours after stock fell off shelves during the aftershock.

Stockroom worker Jo Edmond said she was feeling “a little bit nervous”.

The store still had power, but would be closed for a few hours while staff cleaned up, she said.

“The store’s a bit of a mess. There’s a lot of glass, but nothing too bad.”

She said it was lucky there were not many customers in the store at the time, and off-duty staff had come in to help with the cleanup…” more here

Last month GNS officials cautioned that Canterbury has a nearly one-in-four chance of a third major earthquake of up to magnitude 7.0 during the next year. The devastating quake on  22 February 2011 was a magnitude  6.3.

This morning’s quake was soon a trending topic on Twitter

kinetaknight “Massive aftershock in Christchurch. That surely would have caused more damage. Hoping everyone OK #eqnz
typemark “Wow big after shock earthquake we were outside when it happened. Buildings rattling rolling all around us”
JoyReidTVNZ “That was a massive long shake… Are you ok??? Have you got new damage? Message me and pls retweet #eqnz GOSH I HATE THIE SHAKING”
CherylBernstein – “Hurray! Power back on in Fendalton and Merivale. That gurgle is the sound of 1000 coffee machines starting up…”
hdpaONENEWS “That 5.5 shake in Chch had our journalists under desks during the morning conference call.”
OrionNZ “Power is out in parts of Fendalton and Ilam in #chch. Repair crews working on it, expect power to be restored by 10.30am #eqnz