Aftershocks to Continue Following Yesterday’s Quake

New Zealand lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, bisected by two tectonic plates (click to enlarge)

New Zealand lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, bisected by two tectonic plates. Half the country lies on a transform fault, the other half on a continental rift (click to enlarge)

Sizable aftershocks are expected following yesterday’s earthquake which was centred west of Arthur’s Pass. Some of them are already occurring, leading to fears the government’s Earthquake Commission may not have enough reserves to meet significant numbers of fresh damage claims.

It’s been 4 years since the original quake devastated Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city, but the rebuild has been a long and protracted process. Some estimates give a 10 year completion date, thus ensuring rebuild work provides a sustained boost to the NZ economy and doesn’t deplete its insurance reserves.

So far work has been estimated to have amounted to $40 billion. But then, demolition work hasn’t ceased yet, so the cost is likely to keep on ballooning, in more ways than one. Dismantling work on homes in the suburb of Sumner will cause road closures during this holiday period, much to the dismay of local businesses who say they will lose money.

The UK’s BBC picked up on the news of the latest quake, saying

Strong quake hits New Zealand’s Christchurch

New Zealand officials have warned of the danger of aftershocks after a strong earthquake hit the South Island on Tuesday morning.

The magnitude 6.0 quake struck just before 07:00 local time (18:00 GMT on Monday) near Arthur’s Pass, about 100km (63 miles) west of Christchurch.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

It was one of the strongest quakes in New Zealand since Christchurch in 2011 when 185 people were killed.

Much of downtown Christchurch was destroyed and the city is still rebuilding.

New Zealand natural hazard monitoring service GeoNet classed Tuesday morning’s quake as “severe” and happening at a depth of 5km.

It said more than 30 aftershocks measuring up to 4.2 were experienced within four hours and warned of more to come.

“In typical aftershock sequences, we can expect the largest aftershock to be up to magnitude 5.0,” it said in a statement…source

Here’s how yesterday’s quakes were reported by the NZ press. This seismograph picture shows they were felt across the whole country:

This is today’s update

The quake that devastated Christchurch on 22 February 2011 was a magnitude 6.3. It was technically an aftershock of an earlier quake measuring 7.1 on 4 September 2010 which weakened many buildings and left them structurally unsound. Some of those buildings collapsed in the later quake, killing their occupants.

Related

American news website: Christchurch is still a mess, a city of carparks (Dec 2014)

The American news website Vice says Christchurch is still in a mess 4 years after the devastating Canterbury earthquakes, adding it has become a “city of car parks”

Far from normal

“…four years later Christchurch has become a city of car parks. Around 1,500 buil​dings have been demolished, leaving a city the size and planning density of Adelaide full of open space.

There are still a handful of skyscrapers around, but they’re mostly boarded up and condemned. Steel frames hold smaller buildings in place, but with an emphasis on slowing degeneration, rather than reconstruction. That’s not to say there hasn’t been improvement, but you’d think from the lack of news that Christchurch is back to normal. The truth is that the city has scars, while the inner city is still far from normal…”

The article is going to cause dismay in the Christchurch business community, desperate to attract tourism and trade back to the broken town… read on

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