Christchurch earthquake of February 2011

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Christchurch earthquake of February 2011
Christchurch earthquake of February 2011 (New Zealand)
Coordinates 43 ° 36 '0 "  S , 172 ° 42' 36"  E Coordinates: 43 ° 36 '0 "  S , 172 ° 42' 36"  E
date February 22, 2011
Time 12:51 p.m. local time
intensity on the MM scale
Magnitude 6.3  M W
depth 5 km
epicenter Lyttelton
(9 km southeast of Christchurch center)
country New Zealand
Affected places

Christchurch , Lyttelton

Tsunami No
dead 185
Injured approx. 5,900

Buildings on Barbadoes Street

The Christchurch earthquake of February 2011 , with a magnitude of 6.3  M W, was the strongest earthquake in New Zealand to date since the Darfield earthquake on September 4, 2010. The earthquake occurred on February 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm local time and caught off guard during the busiest time, most notably Christchurch , the second largest city in the country at the time. The epicenter was near the town of Lyttelton in the Canterbury region on the South Island of New Zealand.

Although the earthquake was seismologically classified as an aftershock of the Darfield earthquake by the state earthquake monitoring station GeoNet , the intensity and its destructive power were stronger than those of the earthquake in September. The epicenter was closer to the city of Christchurch and the hypocenter was closer to the surface at only 3 miles. A maximum acceleration of 2.2 g arose on the earth's surface  near Heathcote Valley Primary School , just under 3 km north of Lyttelton .

Because of its destructive power, the quake was classified in intensity level IX of the expanded Mercalli scale .

Tectonic background

The earthquake occurred as part of the aftershocks of the Darfield earthquake, which had been ongoing since September 4, 2010 , which at the time had a magnitude of 7.1  M w . The 4825 registered aftershocks above 2.0  M w in the nearly six months between the two destructive main quake on 4 September and showed on 22 February, is that the ground was far from set.

The tremor was passed through a deferment (engl. Reverse dip-slip fault ) generated, in which shifts in the obliquely vertical fracture the active plate upward. Although the boundary line where the Pacific plate against the Australian plate moves, approximately 100 of the current km northwest epicenter is located, the number of previous quakes show in the region around Christchurch , the vast and enormous activities spread of plate tectonics in the Canterbury Plains on the South Island of New Zealand.

The earthquake this time was significantly closer to the center of Christchurch than the main one in September 2010 and was in the vicinity of some other moderate aftershocks (magnitude 4-5) east of the main fracture point in 2010. There was no tectonic structure that directly linked the earthquake from 2010, but there have been numerous aftershocks along a roughly east-west linear trend that extends eastward from the center of the previous quake. A graphic from the GeoNet Geological Hazard Monitoring System , which shows the earthquakes of the last 60 days that occurred at shallow depths, makes it clear how much the area around Christchurch is currently at risk from constantly occurring aftershocks.

The quake

The quake took place in a hidden and previously unknown fault with an east-west orientation. According to initial findings, this fault resulted in an approximately 10 km long fracture, only 9 km from the center of the city. The main quake lasted about 25 seconds, with a first further aftershock about 2 minutes later. Only 1 second passed between the arrival of the P wave and the S wave at the seismic measuring instrument that is closest to the epicenter , which shows the shallow depth of the origin of the earthquake.


Destroyed building in Bealey Avenue, Christchurch -Zentrum

The deaths of 185 people as a result of the earthquake have been officially confirmed, including nationals from at least 14 other countries (mostly Japanese and Chinese). As some human remains were difficult to identify and a comparison had to be made with the registered missing persons, the final number of victims was not published until about a year after the earthquake. According to the state Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), around 5,900 injured people were reported by March 17, but it is ultimately believed that around 7,500 cases of damage.

185 Empty Chairs - 185 empty white chairs commemorated those who died in the 2015 earthquake in Christchurch.

Numerous buildings were destroyed or badly damaged in and around Christchurch. Some people were trapped and had to be released. More than 200 people were temporarily missing. The masonry buildings, especially those in the city center, were hardest hit by the destruction. But reinforced concrete structures such as the Pyne Gould Guinness Building also gave way under the heavy impact. The building of Canterbury Television , a regional television broadcaster, collapsed almost completely and then partially went up in flames. 115 victims were found under the rubble.

One of the city's landmarks was also badly damaged, half of the steeple of ChristChurch Cathedral collapsed and parts of the rest of the building were damaged. The heavily damaged or largely destroyed buildings included many other listed historic buildings, such as the Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings , the Clarendon Tower and the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament designed by Francis Petre . In Lyttelton, the Timeball Station suffered so much damage that it had to be removed. Likewise the St Elmo Courts .

Christchurch Cathedral with collapsed tower

Soil liquefaction was found locally . In some parts of the city there was also flooding due to burst water pipes. This, along with cracks in the road surface and rubble lying around, made many roads impassable. Fires broke out elsewhere in the city. Gerry Brownlee , Minister for Earthquake Recovery , said on March 7th that parts of Christchurch would have to be abandoned and up to 10,000 homes would have to be demolished. It was also estimated that around 100,000 homes were in need of repair. By 2016, 12,000 houses in the east of the city had been demolished. The main problem with the general reconstruction was the liquefaction of the soil: Christchurch lies in a coastal floodplain that has been drained. The soil consists mainly of maritime sediments and sand, which had absorbed large amounts of water during the quake and endangered the stability of the houses.

Within minutes after the earthquake, a piece of ice with an estimated mass of 30 million tons broke off the Tasman Glacier, about 200 kilometers from the epicenter, and crashed into the lake at the end of the glacier, creating a three-and-a-half meter high tidal wave. On June 13, 2011, there were two 5.5 and 6 aftershocks in which about 50 houses collapsed and six people were injured.

Economic consequences

Economic experts predicted a significant impact on the New Zealand economy from the earthquake. With a share of the city of 15% in the national economic output, which according to experts has now stopped abruptly, and a comparatively small country, which is New Zealand with around 4.4 million inhabitants, the entire country would be affected accordingly.

This aerial photograph shows a flooded area of Christchurch .

Numerous calls for donations were made by various aid organizations, banks and official bodies, with Civil Defense Minister John Carter recommending donating only money, as donations in kind create too much logistical effort. While a wave of helpfulness began, capital assessed the New Zealand currency, the New Zealand dollar , at greater risk and dropped the exchange rate to a 2-month low on the day of the quake. A day later, Michael Huttner, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase Bank , estimated the loss to insurers at around US $ 12 billion  , around NZ $ 16 billion  . The September earthquake had already caused an estimated NZ $ 5 to 6 billion reconstruction costs by February 2011. In June 2011, additional costs of over NZ $ 6 billion were expected. EQECAT, a disaster risk assessment company, recommended the insurance industry to assume total costs of NZ $ 15 billion to 20 billion.

The government's Earthquake Commission counted over 31,000 reported claims a week after the quake. In comparison, 157,098 cases were reported in three months after the September earthquake. In total, the commission recorded more than 209,000 reports of the seven earthquake events resulting in damage between September 4, 2010 and March 2, 2011. Bob Parker , the mayor of Christchurch, estimated that within two weeks of the quake, up to 70,000 people left the city, initially losing around 1/5 of its population.

Five days after the earthquake, various daily necessities were rationed in the large supermarkets of the South Island. The failure of some logistics centers and food producers resulted in distribution problems in the southern part of the country, which in turn led to hamster purchases . The supermarket chains started rationed sales of their own accord in order to ensure a secure food supply. The earthquake also led to increased demand among prostitutes in the city of Christchurch , and auxiliary workers from outside seem to be making increasing use of the offers.

Disaster relief and other measures

Salvage work on the collapsed Canterbury Television building

On February 23, the day after the devastating earthquake, Prime Minister John Key declared the National State of Emergency . Key also ordered mourning flags on public buildings. John Carter , Minister of Civil Defense and Emergency Management , said on the same day that rescue teams from the United States , Singapore , Japan and Taiwan and the United Kingdom were already on their way to New Zealand. Australian teams reacted quickly and were already on site. Offers of help from Canada , Argentina , Israel , Belgium , France , Greece , Malaysia and the European Union were also available. Germany, as New Zealand's fifth most important trading partner, was not among the countries offering aid.

A 75-strong search and rescue team from New South Wales arrived aboard a C-130 Hercules of the RAAF during the twelve hours after the earthquake in Christchurch, 75 more from Queensland were sent a day later. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard pledged further support to New Zealand. New Zealand Police asked for 300 Australian police officers to help regulate traffic and prevent looting . This contingent was made up of 200 officers from the New South Wales Police Force , 50 from the Australian Federal Police and police officers from the states of Queensland, Victoria and South Australia . In addition, the Australian government donated five million Australian dollars to the Red Cross .

116 soldiers from the Singapore Armed Forces who were training in Christchurch were assigned to the New Zealand authorities and participated in the cordoning off of the city. In addition, 55 civil defense personnel were posted from Singapore to New Zealand. The United States dispatched 74 heavily-armed forces from the Los Angeles County Fire Department . 70 helpers were sent from Japan and 63 from the United Kingdom to New Zealand.

The Christchurch International Airport was closed after the quake to general air traffic and was open only for flights that served the disaster relief. Airways New Zealand , the air traffic control responsible for New Zealand airspace , which is based in Christchurch , had closed the airspace of New Zealand completely until an inspection of the facilities was completed.

The New Zealand railroad company Kiwi Rail stopped operating the TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific passenger trains commuting to Christchurch in order to check the routes for damage and ensure the necessary supply traffic for the city.

The warship HMNZS Canterbury , which was anchored in Lyttelton at the time of the earthquake, provided meals to around 1,000 people who had become homeless there. The ship is at the core of a planned joint task force for Australia and New Zealand to be used in response to natural disasters. It is currently the only larger suitable military ship of the navies of both states, since the three Australian ships intended for it are currently not operational.

On February 25, the New Zealand government decided to postpone the census planned for March 8, 2011 . It is the first postponement since 1941 when it did not take place as planned because of World War II .

On March 16, New Zealand Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully announced that the 2011 Rugby Union World Cup in New Zealand in September and October would be relocated to other cities due to damage at the AMI Stadium and other safety concerns have to.

See also

Web links

Commons : Christchurch Earthquake 2011  - Collection of Pictures, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

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