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Monday, 26 September 2016 11:42 am

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Swarm of quakes hits Christchurch

A swarm of quakes - including a magnitude 6 and two greater than magnitude 5 - have hit Christchurch, toppling already damaged buildings, injuring residents and disrupting power, phone services and retailers. The first quake - magnitude 5.8 quake, 8km deep and centred 20km north east of Lyttelton - struck at 1.58pm. The United States Geological Service said it was followed by a magnitude 5.3 quake at 2.06pm, and GeoNet reported the largest magnitude 6 quake struck at 3.18pm. The last quake was just 6km deep and centred 10km east of Christchurch.


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Deaths, destruction in Christchurch quake 6.3M

A number of people are dead and NZ Quake Person Finder scores trapped after a large quake struck Christchurch this afternoon. Police said two buses had been crushed by falling debris, while witnesses said screams could be heard coming from the Pyne Gould Business building where up to 150 people were feared trapped. The airport was closed to all but emergency flights and Lyttelton tunnel was shut. Christchurch Hospital remained open but was also damaged. It asked that only seriously injured people come to the emergency department. It had a full emergency plan in operation. Hospitals around the South Island were being cleared to take the earthquake injured. St John's Ambulance had run out of ambulances and was using four wheel drives to get the injured out. Defence Forces have been called in to assist with the earthquake recovery. Christchurch Cathedral, the heart of the city, has largely collapsed. Dean of Cathedral Peter Beck said they tried to get out who they could but it was now in the hands of emergency services. "It doesn't look good". He had "no idea" of how many people were inside. Power was out in 80 percent of the city, as large aftershocks continued. Bodies were seen being taken out of the damaged YHA hostel in the city. On the corner of Lichfield and High Streets, a block of shops had completely collapsed and rescue services believed four or five people are trapped in the rubble. One body had been pulled from the wreckage. EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS Amber Armitage said people were wandering around central Christchurch trying to get out but all exits from the city were blocked. There was a strong smell of gas and clouds of dust. A bus on Colombo St was "completely trapped under bricks" and people were working to free passengers trapped in it.

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The image below represents a snapshot of the latest seismograph recordings for a set of seismograph sites spread throughout New Zealand.

The image below represents a snapshot of the latest seismograph recordings for a set of seismograph sites spread throughout New Zealand

This image represents one day's recording of the seismometer located in McQueens Valley on Banks Peninsula, Canterbury.

This image represents one day's recording of the seismometer located in McQueens Valley on Banks Peninsula, Canterbury

We acknowledge the New Zealand GeoNet project and its sponsors EQC, GNS Science and LINZ, for providing data/images used in this study.


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