New Zealand Rocked by More Earthquakes and Aftershocks

Christchurch AftershockChristchurch, New Zealand, has suffered two more earthquakes, followed by aftershocks on Monday, June 13, 2011, bringing down one of the last remaining buildings that still stood within the devastated downtown, while sending thousands of homes into blackout. 

The Christchurch city center has already been cordoned-off following the devastating earthquakes in February of this year, but it saw further damage and setbacks to the recovery and repairs with the additional quakes on Monday.  

Two hundred people were within that area when the earthquakes hit, sending them to seek protection from the falling bricks and other debris.  Two of them found themselves briefly trapped within a church.  According to the city council, over forty people needed medical attention for minor injuries after having been struck by falling objects. 

Mayor of Christchurch, Bob Parker, said that “We are being enveloped with dust,” and that “It is very, very scary.” 

The first quake, which has a magnitude of 5.2, struck during the lunch hour, sending people fleeing from buildings.  The U.S. Geological Survey stated that it was followed by a second 6.0-magnitude earthquake about an hour later.  Afterward, a number of earthquakes of a lesser magnitude were recorded. 

Both the center of the city and the suburbs saw damage to a number of buildings, such as fallen shops, and the collapse of part of a Domino’s Pizza rooftop.  

On February 22 of this year, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 struck the city, followed by thousands of aftershocks, killing 181 people.  Those tremors and its aftershocks were highly destructive because they were quite shallow.  That said, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Monday quakes had a depth of about 6 miles.

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