Christchurch has been rattled by three major aftershocks today.
The first, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, hit at 6:03am at a depth of 10km. It was centred 10km south-west of Christchurch.
The second struck 10km east of the city at a depth of 5km at 11:10am. It measured 3.9 on the Richter scale.
The third was also at a depth of 5km and was 10km south-west of Christchurch. It also measured 3.9 on the Richter scale.
GeoNet duty seismologist John Ristau says the fact that the second and third had a depth of 5km means they were felt strongly around the Christchurch city area.
“We’ve had a few reports of minor damage of items knocked off shelves or maybe picture frames knocked off walls, that type of thing,” he says.
Newstalk ZB reporter Amanda South says the last rattle was frightening.
Gen emailed the Newstalk ZB newsroom after the first shake to say she felt it in Timaru.
The CBD is running as per usual this morning. Newstalk ZB reporter Amanda South says buses are running and people are getting around the city.
Mayor Bob Parker felt the first shake early this morning.
“It felt like the whole house had just gone over a cattle stop on a country road. It was a really nasty, violent little shake and it certainly felt like it was close,” he says.
The people of Christchurch are just wondering when the shakes will ever end, Mayor Parker says.
“It’s very disheartening for people who managed to get a few paces forward, get some repairs underway and then suddenly, yet another shake, yet another set of cracks in the walls and more uncertainty for people,” he says.
Mr Parker says there will inevitably be a number of re-inspections of buildings today following the quake.
Mr Ristau of GeoNet says there may be reports of damage, which could involve items falling off shelves.
“It’s possible that this size and this close to Christchurch that there could have been some damage of bricks falling off buildings and things like that but I don’t know if there has been,” he says.
Mr Ristau says it is likely an event of this size will trigger its own smaller aftershocks. He warns people should be expecting aftershocks in the next 24 hours in the range of three on the Richter scale.
There are reports of damage in Halswell and Burnham where residents are saying there has been new damage and items broken from falling off shelves.
Supermarkets in Halswell reported losing bottles of wine and other items off shelves.
Newstalk ZB’s Jo Scott says it came out of the blue and went for a long time.
She was reading the news at the time the aftershock hit. Listen to the bulletin
Newstalk ZB business correspondent told Mike Hosking this morning “it was a big crack” which will not help buildings suffering quake damage already.
“There’s a number of historic buldings that are probably, at best, marginal, and these types of activities are not going to be of any assistance to those buildings,” he says.
Addington resident Bruce Cameron says he heard the rumbling and things around him started to shake.
St John Ambulance in Christchurch say they have not received any calls reporting accident or injury following this morning’s aftershock.
Spokesman Ian Henderson says there has been no notable increase in calls to the communications centre since 6am.
Newstalk ZB staff in Christchurch say further smaller jolts were felt around 6:25am and 7:45am.
Two more were recorded later on, a 3.4 at 8:02am and a 4 at 8:06am.
The Christchurch City Council is urging building owners to assess their premises.
Today’s first aftershock is the eighth largest in the area since the 7.1 earthquake which hit on September 4 last year.