Aftershocks rock Chch overnight

  • 15/02/2016
A sink hole in Baker St, New Brighton (Thomas Mead)
A sink hole in Baker St, New Brighton (Thomas Mead)

Unsettling aftershocks have rocked Christchurch overnight almost every hour after yesterday's 5.7 magnitude earthquake.

The most powerful of the quakes which hit last night was a 3.9 magnitude tremor which struck just after 8:30pm.

GeoNet spokeswoman Anna Kaiser said quakes had been progressively moving eastwards and this one was centred in a similar spot to a quake in December 2011.

"Absolutely they're linked to the earthquakes five years ago. This earthquake is certainly part of the same thing," she said.

She said there would be many aftershocks because yesterday's quake was shallow.

There had been landslides and liquefaction reported, she said. 


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Sight traffic Management supervisor John Matthews says sinkholes have appeared in New Brighton which has exposed live cabling. He was concerned about people falling down the holes and has closed off footpath areas of Baker St where they've appeared. 

He says the earthquake has caused a minor setback to work already being done in the area. 

"It's like any job, you have setbacks and this is just a small setback for us at the moment," he says. 

Christchurch hospitals are operating as usual today with reports of only minor damage to some buildings. New mothers and their babies at Burwood Hospital were transferred yesterday to other facilities as a pre-caution.

Geo-technical engineers’ inspections are on-going but GPs, pharmacies, after-hours services and the hospital emergency department are operating as normal.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the city was in a much better state than it was when the deadly 6.3-quake hit on February 22 in 2011 but it did nothing for the nerves.

"It really is a real set-back psychologically for the city," she said.

Land Information New Zealand has suspended all demolition of Crown-owned properties in the Port Hills until they've been inspected and approved.

Residents have three months to lodge an insurance claim with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) after yesterday's rattle, EQC chief executive Ian Simpson says.

The Christ Church Cathedral will be assessed at some point throughout the week, says Reverend Jayson Rhodes of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa.

Christchurch Girls' High School has been given the all clear after an engineer inspected the building this morning. School will resume tomorrow morning as normal. 

Aranui High School and St Thomas of Canterbury are closed today as well.

Cliffs collapsed at Whitewash Heads near Taylors Mistake and at Godley Head and there were other rockfalls in the city.

The city council is checking council-owned facilities today for damage, with some facilities closed pending engineering reports.

No major damage has been reported as of yet and the city's water supply is safe to drink.

A geotechnical report last night said the amount of rockfall and liquefaction was as expected for an earthquake of that acceleration near New Brighton.

ANZAC Bridge, Fitzgerald Twin Bridge and Gladstone Quay have been inspected and are all open. The Lyttelton Road Tunnel remains open.

Some areas of the city have experienced some localised liquefaction. Residents with liquefaction on their properties can place small quantities of liquefaction material in their red rubbish bin, but no more than one third of the red bin the council has advised.

Residents who need help clearing liquefaction from their properties can contact the Student Volunteer Army by emailing< or messaging them through Facebook.

The highest recorded peak ground acceleration (PGA) from this earthquake was 0.4g (PGA is a good measure of the intensity of the shaking). in comparison, the highest recorded PGA from the February 2011 M6.3 earthquake was 2.2g.

Summit Road between Rapaki gate and Mt Cavendish remains closed to cyclists and pedestrians. Bridle Path and Rapaki tracks also remain closed. Further Port Hills track closures include: Eastenders track (from Barnett Park to Summit Road), Captain Thomas Track and Scarborough Bluffs Track. Rangers are out checking these areas today and geotechnical experts will be carrying out analysis on required sites.

Horncastle Arena is operating as usual and preparations for Cirque du Soleil will continue as planned. An engineer will be on site this morning to check the building.

Hadlee Pavilion at Hagley Oval is operational, however it will be fully inspected by an engineer this morning. Planning for the New Zealand versus Australia test match is on this weekend will go ahead.

AMI Stadium is closed until an engineer has completed an inspection in the next day or so. Lancaster Park is not operational and is not accessible to the public, but we will be carrying out an inspection later this week.

Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) is continuing checks of its more than 140 work sites, including a number of substantial projects in Parklands, New Brighton and other eastern suburbs.

Council's Animal Management Team Leader Mark Vincent says for a while after yesterday's earthquake, there were a number of dogs running loose, but they were quickly returned to their owners.

All Crown-owned sites in the Port Hills have been closed and every Crown-owned site will be checked as soon as possible. 

Orion has reported all power is back on for all those impacted by yesterday's earthquakes and precautionary inspections of buildings and equipment will take place over the coming days.