New Zealand’s deadliest quake sounds alarm for cities on fault lines

Natural Hazards Observer



The catastrophic Christ Church Earthquake is a strong reminder to engineers and scientists of the hazards pose by fault lines, both mapped and unknown, near major cities. In February 2011, the relatively moderate earthquake that struck the cities of Christchurch and Lyttleton in the Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island surprised many with its destructive power. The magnitude 6.2 temblor killed 181 people, 118 of whom were killed in the collapse of a single building in the city center. The quake damaged or destroyed more than 100,000 buildings.

It was the deadliest quake to strike the nation in 80 years-since the 1931 earthquake that struck the Napier and Hastings area of the North Island. The Christchurch quake was part of the aftershock sequence following the September 2010 magnitude 7.1 earthquake near Darfield, 40 kilometers west of the city. The Darfield earthquake was in a sparsely populated area, causing to loss of life. By contrast, the Christchurch earthquake was generated on a fault in close proximity to the city.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title New Zealand’s deadliest quake sounds alarm for cities on fault lines
Series title Natural Hazards Observer
Volume 36
Issue 3
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Natural Hazards Center
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 4 p.
First page 1
Last page 4
Country New Zealand
City Christchurch