Christchurch escapes serious damage from tremor

4:56 am on 7 June 2011

An extensive check has shown that Christchurch escaped any serious damage from a magnitude 5.5 aftershock on Monday.

The jolt occurred at 9.09am and was centred 20km southwest of Christchurch at a depth of 15km. Other tremors of less magnitude have also been recorded throughout the day.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority says all indicator buildings have been checked and none have sustained any extra damage.

Indicator buildings are checked after each significant shake to establish whether re-evaluation of a wider range of buildings should be carried out.

The authority says finding no significant new damage was a relief.

The Earthquake Commission will classify the aftershock as a new event, meaning people who have new or worsened damage must lodge a new claim by 6 September.

There have been three aftershocks of 5.5 or higher in Canterbury since the magnitude 6.3 earthquake on 22 February which killed 181 people and severely damaged parts of Christchurch and other areas.

GNS says the 5.5 tremor on Monday was sizeable, but the depth may be the reason why it was not felt as widely as previous aftershocks of similar magnitude.

However, it was still felt throughout the South Island, from the West Coast to Dunedin.

Selwyn District Council says there are no reports of damage. The area is not prone to problems caused by liquefaction. Emergency services and Christchurch City Council say they have also received no reports of damage.

Meanwhile, a power outage in parts of the suburb of Fendalton on Monday was not caused by the tremor. Orion says power was already out in 23 streets due to a fault.

'Violent' shake felt in Rolleston

A bed and breakfast owner at Rolleston, 2km from the epicentre of the 5.5-magnitude tremor, says the aftershock was the worst he has felt.

John Keoghan, of the Garden View Bed & Breakfast, was having breakfast with his guests when the quake occurred. He says it felt very violent and had a feeling that the epicentre would be close.

While he does not think his buildings suffered new damage, he believes cracks which have yet to be repaired have widened.

Buildings shook at the Rolleston Shopping Centre, causing people to run outside. People were reported to be screaming in the car park during the shaking, which lasted for at least 10 seconds.

Earlier shocks

A smaller quake was recorded at 7.58am on Monday. It was magnitude 3.7 located 10km south-west of Christchurch at a depth of 8km.

Three others occurred on Sunday. They measured magnitude 3.0, 3.9 and 3.7, respectively. They were 5km from Darfield at 4.21pm, and 20km south-west of Christchurch at 10.37am and 7.45am.

Two others were recorded on Saturday, 20km from Christchurch. They were magnitude 3.3 at 11.25am and magnitude 4.1 at 11.07am.