Crockery fell off shelves, plaster dropped from the ceiling and masonry tumbled from the front of buildings in the CBD following a major earthquake in Christchurch this morning.
Power has been restored to central Christchurch after the 4.9 aftershock.
The aftershock was widely felt in the Canterbury region and followed a series of quakes overnight and this morning, GNS Science said.
The quake struck at a depth of 12 kilometres, within 5km of Christchurch at 10.30am.
It was followed five minutes later by a 3.6 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 5km.
A police spokesman said the quake cut power in central Christchurch and there had been reports of building damage.
Orion said power was restored within about an hour.
Civil Defence manager Jon Mitchell said the aftershock damaged building frontages and damaged stock.
Most of the damage occurred in the central business district (CBD) but hundreds of boxing day shoppers were evacuated from one of the city’s largest malls, Westfield Mall in Riccarton, were there was “superficial” damage, Mr Mitchell said.
Power had since been restored to most areas and most shops were continuing to trade, he said.
The aftershock was particularly damaging because it struck so close to the CBD and “may well be” the most damaging since the September 4`s 7.1 magnitude shock.
“There have been larger aftershocks but they have tended to be around the city and have damaged usually in-ground infrastructure.”
Mr Mitchell advised people to follow evacuation advice and to be careful around building damage.
Newstalk ZB reporter Jo Scott said the “very frightening” aftershock was the biggest to be felt for some time.
“We’ve got pictures off the wall at home, things off shelves, our power is off.”
St John’s Ambulance said there was an increase in calls following the 10.30am quake but no reports of injuries.
Chris Haines, St John Regional Operations Manager, said the calls were mostly from frightened and anxious people.
The latest aftershock comes after a magnitude 4.2 quake struck at a depth of 5 kilometres, within 5km of Christchurch at 2.07am.
A series of smaller aftershocks ranging between magnitudes 2.7 and 3.8 have also struck the region overnight and this morning.
The aftershocks come over four months after the magnitude 7.1 quake on September 4.
Canterbury newspaper The Press in Cathedral Square has been evacuated, with evidence of fallen plaster and external cracks to the 100-year-old building according to Stuff.
The Pacific region has been rocked in other areas as well today with a 5.9 magnitude tremor recorded at White Island and a 7.3 quake in Vanuatu.
Did you feel it? Post a comment below
– WeatherWatch.co.nz, NZHerald.co.nz, NewstalkZB
on 26/12/2010 10:57am
i thought they were over, tore my old house to pieces. Went around today after the quake and there were rooms and walls missing, Scary stuff really
on 25/12/2010 11:26pm
That was big and we lost more in this one than in the major one.
Tans and merry Xmas 🙂
on 25/12/2010 11:09pm
I was watching a DVD and it was a loud rumble and then a really bad shake. The blinds rattled loudly.
on 25/12/2010 10:47pm
Whew I wasn’t in Christchurch for the big one, but that one was quite big enough for me. Scary stuff!