Christchurch earthquake

Our deepest sympathies go out to everyone in Christchurch. Many of our staff here have families and whanau down there – we’re thinking of you all, and hoping for good news.

I’ve been in touch with our expert Dr Hamish Campbell at GNS. Although he’s at the thick of things, he did dash off this email to me about the geological movement:

“This magnitude 6.3 shallow earthquake (only 5 km), considered to be an aftershoock of the 7.1 Darfield Earthquake, relates to movement on a reverse (thrust) fault. This is another previously unrecognised and hence unnamed fault.

It is very different in character to the Darfield Earthquake which related to E – W transcurrent movement on a vertical plane. This event relates to thrust movement from E to W. So, the east side is trying to climb up over the west side, enabling crustal shortening.
This is classic plate collision tectonics.
The fault is almost certainly oriented NE-SW, in keeping with the general trend of most active faults in NZ, associated with plate collision. ”

We’ll keep you posted with updates as they come to hand. GNS’s own GEONET site is one of the best sources of information.

8 Responses

  1. Rene

    Could do with some more content on this – any recommends on
    what to read or what forums I might join?

  2. Bryce

    I personally didn’t spend much time doing this, but it’s evidently worth doing.

  3. Lucinda Blackley

    Kia ora JB, National Services and Museums Aotearoa have issued this statement: ‘Our thoughts of deepest sympathy and solidarity remain with our colleagues and friends in the Christchurch region after the horrendous earthquake. Museums Aotearoa and National Services Te Paerangi are compiling a register of volunteers/ ideas to help the Christchurch cultural sector’s recovery. Please contact Sophie de Lautour Kelly (, 04 499 1313) if you would like to volunteer or have any ideas.’

  4. Lucinda Blackley

    hi JB, yes, National Services are hard at work on a plan. One of their team will be able to advise you of details tomorrow

  5. JB

    I understand there has been quite a bit of damage to objects and exhibits at Canterbury Museum. Obviously the focus now is on making sure people are safe and accounted for, and Canterbury Museum will no doubt have an existing disaster management plan, but will Te Papa/National Services be looking to develop any sort of assistance/plan to help get the museum back up and running?

  6. Lucinda Blackley

    hi Adele, yes, it is such a tragedy. Our hearts go out to everyone down there.

    If people are wanting to help, all the major banks are accepting donations. An appeal account for people to donate to a proposed relief fund will be set up once details of the fund are finalised by the Christchurch City Council, meanwhile you can donate to accounts set up by the banks:
    ASB – 12-3205-0146808-00
    ANZ – 01-1839-0188939-00
    National Bank – 06-0869-0548507-00
    Westpac – 03-0207-0617331-00

  7. adele

    my heart goes out to Christchurch and everyone especially who are helping with the recovery of folk..pleased we have a site where we can put messages on thank you.. I have no family down there, but over the years have made many friends who live down there, one day I hope to visit South Island, very sad to see the Cathedral as it is..a landmark.. but we can rebuild.. and hopefully not to many loss of lives down there.. hear help is coming in from international means to search for folk.. wonderful in times like this, we all help..


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