The magnitude-6.3 quake that hit Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand on Feb. 22 caused more damage than the magnitude-7.1 quake in the same region in September because the more recent temblor was only five kilometers deep and only about 10 km from the city center. Damage to historic structures, especially Christchurch Cathedral, was significant; however, even modern buildings—including the Pyne Gould Guiness Building —collapsed, for a total of about 12. Soil liquefaction caused mudflows that damaged roads and houses. Reports say the quake is not connected to the same fault line as the Sept. 4 quake. At press time, there had been more than 50 aftershocks. The preliminary death toll, now 65, is expected to rise.
Magnitude-6.3 Quake in New Zealand Worse than 2010 Magnitude-7.1 Temblor
February 23, 2011
Photo: Courtesy of AP Images