Huge Earthquake Hits Christchurch City Centre

A huge 6.3 earthquake has hit Christchurch, causing widespread destruction in the city centre.

Video captures quake aftermath and aftershocks that send rescuers running for safety


video shows large rocks falling moments after the earthquake hits in Christchurch, NZ


Huge Earthquake Hits Christchurch City Centre

A huge earthquake has struck Canterbury with witness reporting the 6.3 magnitude quake felt more violent than the quake in September.

GNS Science said the quake was centred at Lyttelton at a depth of 5km.

Phone lines are down and calls are not being connected to emergency services.

Twitter users have reported feeling the quake in Wellington and Dunedin.

Herald reporter Jarrod Booker said people had left buildings and were out on the street.

He said the shake lasted approximately a minute and was extremely violent - rocking buildings back and forth.

Tarmac on the roads have cracked and water mains have burst, flooding the streets, he said.
He said the carpark at the Christchurch Star had turned into a river with huge cracks and the roads had risen in areas.

People were comforting people outside amid a general state of shock as people try to absorb what had happened, he said.

Objects fell off shells.

Church reported collapsed

Radio New Zealand's reporter says staff at the Christchurch newsroom had to cling to their desks during the shaking. Large filing cabinets toppled.

People made their way out of the building but when they got out they couldn't see for dust.

A church near the RNZ building in Durham St had collapsed.

Concrete in Victoria Square had lifted at least a metre in some places and there are signs of liquefaction around the Avon River.

The Ferrymead bridge is reported to be impassable because of rising water.

GNS Science says the quake, which struck at 12.51pm, was centred 10 kilometres south of the city at a depth of five kilometres.

The quake has been felt throughout Canterbury and as far south as Dunedin.

As more aftershocks rocked the city, Christchurch Hospital was being evacuated, a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

Kay Cowlishaw said there was destruction everywhere.

Quake Shorter But Stronger In Some Parts

GNS Science says the quake, which struck at 12.51pm, was centred 10 kilometres south of the city at a depth of five kilometres.

Victoria University geo-physicist John Tannend says the location puts this quake right under people's feet.

The quake was felt throughout Canterbury and as far south as Dunedin.

GNS Science seismologist Bill Fry says the earthquake appears to have been more violent in some parts of the city than September's quake, despite having a smaller magnitude.

Though it didn't last as long as the main one, he says, in some parts the ground shook more violently.

Stay Off Roads, Don't Use Cellphones

Civil Defence Minister John Carter says the situation was very serious. Landlines and cellphone contact was spasmodic.

He said the emergency headquarters in the Beehive had been activated and Civil Defence head John Hamilton was on his way there.

Telecom says it is working to determine which services have been affected by the quake, and getting them restored as soon as possible.

Civil Defence is asking people stay off their cellphones to allow calls from injured or trapped people to be able to get through to emergency services.

They also are asking that if people are injured or trapped to keep trying on 111.

A damaged building in New ZealandA damaged building in New Zealand

Car near mounds of rubble in ChristchurchCar near mounds of rubble in Christchurch

Damage to buildings in ChristchurchDamage to buildings in Christchurch

New Zealand Herald