Scientists warn of more quake danger in N.Z.

May 31, 2011
A car is seen crushed under rubble in the quake-ravaged town of Christchurch, days after the deadly February disaster which hit the town. New Zealand's Canterbury region faces an almost one-in-four chance of another powerful tremor in the next 12 months, government scientists have said.

New Zealand's earthquake-devastated Canterbury region faces an almost one-in-four chance of another powerful tremor in the next 12 months, government scientists said Tuesday.

The region's major city Christchurch was rocked by a 7.0-magnitude in September and a 6.3 in February, the second of which killed 181 people and destroyed much of the downtown area.

GNS Science senior scientist Matthew Gerstenberger said aftershock modelling showed there was a 23 percent chance of a quake measuring 6.0-7.0 in the region over the next 12 months.

The assessment put the likelihood of a quake centred on Christchurch, New Zealand's second largest city, at about six percent, he said.

"This aftershock model that it's based on has been tested in a number of locations around the world and it's generally been quite consistent," Gerstenberger told Radio New Zealand.

Canterbury has been rattled by thousands of minor since the initial quake in September and Gerstenberger said residents in the South Island region could expect them to continue.

"Certainly there will be more aftershocks ongoing for some time to come, so just be ready, be prepared for that," he said.

Both quakes occurred on faultlines that were previously unknown to scientists. GNS estimates the fault responsible for the September tremor had been inactive for 16,000 years before seismic forces caused it to move.

The February 22 quake, which caused damage estimated at NZ$15 billion ($12.3 billion), was the deadliest earthquake in New Zealand since a 7.8 magnitude quake in Hawke's Bay claimed 256 lives in 1931.

New Zealand sits on the so-called "Ring of Fire", the boundary of the Australian and Pacific , and experiences up to 15,000 a year.

Explore further: Quakes destroy or damage 83 houses in Philippines

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

High aftershock risk for Haiti in next 30 days: USGS

Jan 22, 2010

Earthquake-hit Haiti faces a high risk of possibly damaging aftershocks for at least 30 days and is set to suffer further tremors for months or even years to come, the US Geological Survey said Friday.

New quake rattles New Zealand's Christchurch

Oct 04, 2010

A moderate earthquake measuring 5.2 struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Monday, exactly a month after the country's worst quake in nearly eight decades, US scientists said.

New Zealand quake region as seen by NASA spacecraft

Feb 25, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A day after a powerful magnitude 6.3 earthquake rocked Christchurch, a city of 377,000 on New Zealand's South Island, on Feb. 22, 2011, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection ...

Recommended for you

Kiribati leader visits Arctic on climate mission

12 hours ago

Fearing that his Pacific island nation could be swallowed by a rising ocean, the president of Kiribati says a visit to the melting Arctic has helped him appreciate the scale of the threat.

NASA catches a weaker Edouard, headed toward Azores

Sep 19, 2014

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Atlantic Ocean and captured a picture of Tropical Storm Edouard as it continues to weaken. The National Hurricane Center expects Edouard to affect the western Azores ...

User comments : 0