Natural Disasters | New Zealand | News

Many Dead as Massive Earthquake Strikes New Zealand


An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck Christchurch, New Zealand on Tuesday in the middle of the day. At least 65 are dead, and hundreds missing:

It was the second major quake to hit Christchurch, a city of 350,000, in five months, though Tuesday's 6.3-magnitude temblor caused far more destruction than a stronger September quake that struck before dawn on a weekend. More than 100 people, including as many as a dozen visiting Japanese students, were thought to be trapped in the rubble as darkness — and drizzling rain — fell Tuesday night.

The earthquake caused 30 million tons of ice to break off Tasman, New Zealand's largest glacier.

Our thoughts are with the people of NZ today.

Some of the devastating footage, AFTER THE JUMP...

Footage from TV New Zealand (the pancaked building at around 1:40 reportedly had hundreds inside of it):

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  1. The eeriest thing in these videos is not the people who are stumbling around confused, or the woman weeping, but the people who can be seen futilely trying to put their world back in order, like the man sweeping dirt off the street while the entire mountainside continues to landslide just yards behind him. It's so purely human, this need to rectify even in a state of shock.

    Posted by: christopher | Feb 22, 2011 8:14:01 AM

  2. Whats really shocking is the quiet after such an event. We in nations that have no real natural disasters, like the UK, only see it in films and TV when it is dramatised. The real horror is the silence and shock. It really hits you.

    Posted by: rovex | Feb 22, 2011 10:12:55 AM

  3. The UK can have rather serious flooding though.

    Extensive damage due to a 6.3 would indicate the need for better buildings.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 22, 2011 1:01:09 PM

  4. Ignorant comment, Anon.

    Christchurch survived a 7.4 earthquake - roughly the same size as the Haiti one - in September with no loss of life.

    New Zealand is an extremely earthquake-prone country and, as a result, it has very stringent building codes.

    Yesterday's earthquake hit buildings already weakened by September's earthquake and 4,000 after-shocks. It hit directly under the city. Most recent buildings have survived. Much of the damage came from 19th century stone buildings awaiting reinforcement after September 2010.

    Posted by: Nick | Feb 22, 2011 1:26:36 PM

  5. @Anon, the magnitudes of earth quakes are only one of *many* factors in how much damage they do. In NZ's case, this quake happened to be very close to the city both in terms of distance and in depth, and it followed up 7.4 that hit just a few months ago. NZ's a modern country with fairly strict building standards, but there are limits to what mankind can do to reasonably protect ourselves.

    Christchurch is an absolutely beautiful city... it's sad to see it take so much damage, and see so many of its people suffering. My best wishes to them all.

    Posted by: Ryan | Feb 22, 2011 3:20:18 PM

  6. Incredible destruction. Anyone who has experienced an earthquake will tell you the sensation is bizarre, almost indescribable. I can remember being fascinated by a door frame swaying back and forth during one earthquake I experienced.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 22, 2011 4:12:55 PM

  7. Watching this struck me with so much fear. I noticed the whether being a bit whacking. I think its nuts how it can effect the mid west in the US. I hope the city can recover.
    I know a guy orginally from Chi-chi as they called it, I never heard anyone speak of their city with so much love. I haven't heard from him in a while, but only hope that he [Jeremy] is okay ... not just him. But everyone within the city and the surrounding limits ... I really do hope reconstruction and all the cities and homes can be rebuilt

    Posted by: SamanthA | Feb 24, 2011 5:46:23 AM

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