Multiple Earthquakes shake near Christchurch, New Zealand - Liquefaction Concerns

Recent Earthquake activity ChristChurch 12-24-11- USGS.gov

(Best Syndication News) Three major earthquakes shook near Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday, December 23, 2011 with another 5.0 magnitude earthquake occurring during the morning on Christmas Eve day. The recent activity included 5.0, 4.8, 5.9, 5.8, and 5.3 magnitude tremors that all clustered within the two days. There was a total of 7 earthquakes in this area over the last two days.

Early into December 24, 2011 at 6:37:30 AM local time, a 5.0 magnitude earthquake rattled 13 miles east–southeast of Christchurch according the US Geological Survey (USGS).

On December 23, a major tremor occurred at 3:18:02 PM at the epicenter. The 5.9 magnitude earthquake occurred 9 miles East-Northeast of Christchurch, New Zealand. The exact location reported by the USGS was 43.491°S, 172.844°E. The earthquake epicenter was at a depth of 3 miles. Residents in near Christchurch reported to the USGS as being a strong to very strong shaking with light to moderate damage.

A 4.8 magnitude aftershock shook at 3:50:12 PM local time to the event. The location of the event shifted to 43.536°S, 173.021°E, which was 17 miles East of Christchurch. This aftershock was located in the offshore.

Historical record of seismic activity in New Zealand is considerable, especially north of Christchurch. The area of Wellington has the considerable earthquake activity. The Alpine Fault runs through New Zealand.

Christchurch has a population of approximately 364,000 people, which puts it at risk for serious damage to buildings and the provide safety to the residents. Liquefaction occurred in the city streets of Christchurch during the recent earthquake activity, but this has happened during other tremors as well. With liquefaction, cars sink into the soggy ground becoming stuck. Buildings are also at risk for sinking into the ground and could collapse.

Experts warn that liquefaction could cause major damage in New Zealand. Christchurch is at a higher risk for liquefaction, especially to the eastern part of Christchurch warned Alan Watson, Unit Manager of Sewers of Christchurch City Council. He explained this during a 1996 airing of ‘Inside New Zealand’ documentary discussing the earthquake dangers in the region.

By: Julie Marcus

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