Three large earthquakes have rocked the Christchurch, New Zealand region. The first, currently listed as a magnitude 5.8 by the US Geological Survey, struck at 1:58 pm local time. It was followed by a shock measuring magnitude 5.3 at 2:06 pm. A third earthquake of magnitude 5.8 occurred on the south Island of New Zealand while this report was being prepared. (Third quake may be an error by USGS.)
The New Zealand region was devastated by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake on February 21, 2011. That quake all but wiped out the central business district of Christchurch, resulting in dozens of deaths and millions in property damage.
The local Christchurch Emergency Operations Center has been activated. Initial reports are that rockfalls and some liquefaction has occurred. The local airport and the central business district (CBD) are closed. No deaths and only very minor injuries are being reported at this time. There is no tsunami threat.
Sam Law was in the Riccarton mall. His tweets from the earthquake:
Wow large aftershock. The mall is terrifying.
Standing in Stevens while glasses and plates break and people scream and run. My hands are shaking but I’m ok.
Normally people are fairly calm but this time upstairs in Riccarton mall was pandemonium. People dropping things to run to the escalators.
I assume people freaked out because we haven’t had a good shake in a while, and there were so many people in the mall.
News from Twitter: