Department of Geology


Magnitude 6.3 Christchurch Earthquake


The city had been comparatively lucky with both the location and timing of last September's magnitude 7.1 Darfield (Canterbury) earthquake; the location of this one within 10 km of the city and at a shallow depth of 5 km during the middle of a working day has resulted in destruction, injuries and deaths.

Shaking intensity in the city was much greater for this earthquake than the magnitude 7.1 earthquake for any of its other aftershocks. This is due to the proximity of the epicentre to the city and its shallow depth. The highest shaking was recorded at Heathcote Valley Primary School at 220% g, with readings of 188 %g at Pages Road Pumping Station and 107 %g at Hulverstone Drive Pumping Station. Data from these instruments is available on our strong-motion FTP site.

Seismologically, this is classed as an aftershock because of its relationship to the ongoing activity since September last year. Its occurrence was always statistically possible, but the long time interval and slow decrease in general activity had made it less likely. Unfortunately, it has happened after all and in a location that has brought the worst result. (Source: GeoNet website).

Christchurch Earthquake Information

News articles about the earthquake

Scientific background to Christchurch Earthquake

New Zealand seismicity and general information about earthquakes