This is page contains collected snippets and links for this event from the time they were found. Please bear in mind the advisories are for the time written. I’ve left them as a record of how things unfolded. Later corrections or updates are, for the most part, enclosed in square brackets, minor typos excepted. (This note added 24th Feb., am.)

Just a quick note to alert New Zealand readers: a large earthquake, reported to be magnitude 6.3 has occurred centred 10km south-west of central Christchurch at a depth of 5km. Early reports are of some buildings down and concerns over possible deaths. The brief newspaper report out thus far says that Christchurch hospital is being evacuated. [Reports later corrected this to one ward evacuated.]

Moving this to top temporarily:

@vodafoneNZ needs clear network through ALL NZ please. #eqnz #chch

That is, they’re asking people throughout the country to stay off the phone network unless it’s urgent. No mobile calls. Twitter is OK apparently. ~5pm: More recent requests are for people to limit themselves to texts. 22nd Feb., 9:30am: reports are the request to stay off mobile phones unless urgent still stands.

I will update this post as I get more news. Newer information is added to the bottom (sorry).

Best wishes to all in Christchurch.

(Disclosure: Christchurch is my hometown; my family lives there. My brother & partner have a baby due today, too.)

While of lesser magnitude than the September 4th event, today’s event is much closer to the centre of the city (~10km vs. ~45km) and shallower (~5km vs. ~10km).

1:52pm: Calls are going out to limit phone calls & use text if possible. Wish they’d come clean out and say if texts are OK. (I want to contact my family!)

Top of Cathedral gone: http://yfrog.com/h6hpksmj (Will put this up later.)

Update: more of the cathedral has fallen since in an aftershock.

If you want to follow ’live’, try #EQNZ hashtag on twitter, as I am doing. Less noisy, but more formal is the #chch hashtag. I’m excerpting the more informative bits from a variety of sources, including these.

Stuff.co.nz have a page that’s being updated here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4688398

Live radio stream: radionz.co.nz/audio/live/nat…

[Via twitter, from others:]

@dasfreak ’Fireservice confirms deaths and “dozens” trapped in Central City#eqnz

@Orcon We have made all calls in and out of the South Island free for the next 48 hours. Hope everyone and their families are safe #eqnz – but please hold off the phone calls unless really needed.

Not sure if it’s related, but I felt shelves move within Dunedin Public Library at about the time of this earthquake.

Landslide near Sumner:

YouTube Preview Image

(I’ll continue this as a stream as I get things in.)

Also worth following: @NZcivildefense and the #chch hastag.

Tweeted by: @nzherald

Fire Service has just confirmed to RadioNZ that there have been deaths in Christchurch. #eqnz #chch

Civil defence report 1 up. (A standard advisory by the looks of it.)

NZ Herald reports a facade collapsing on a bus, killing some passengers. Many incidental details in that report. TV3 reports Provincial Chambers Building collapsed.

No news from family (yet). Presumably they’re staying off-line. Main event centred near my brother’s village (Lyttelton).

TVNZ report all staff OK, but building next to the TVNZ building collapsed. [CTV building, I believe.]

Apparently the NZ airspace (all of it?) is closed until inspections have been completed.

Chief fire officer is reportedly encouraging people to leave town if they can. [No further views on this; consider this unconfirmed.]

McQueens valley seismic drum, the closest ’main’ drum on the geonet website, show lots of after shocks, as you might expect. [I added an image of this later; see further down page.]

Tweeted by: @NZStuff :

GNS says acceleration was a full 1G, against 0.8G for September, which equates to a 25% higher speed of movement at ground level. #EQNZ [Boxing Day quake also had greater ’speed’ than the Sep. 4th event from memory; I was in a central city store during that event.]

New Zealanders can get on-going coverage on TVNZ, TV3, etc.

These feeds should be less noisy and more formal than the general twitter stream, which is moving too fast to follow, but probably won’t report individual incidents:

Tweeted by: @chrisnoble_nz Chris Noble

Some relevant twitter accounts: @NZcivildefence, @CanterburyEM, @Police_NZ (auto feed only), @ECan, @geonet #eqnz

Geologist suggests it may not be an aftershock:

“I think it’s highly likely it’s a completely different fault system from what we were dealing with in the previous quake,” Dr Mark Quigley, a lecturer in the department of geological sciences at the University of Canterbury, told One News.

Very early on a wiki was set up for reporting missing persons (H/T @Kubke [fellow sciblogger]) [My only thought is do the official services, e.g. civil defence, run one too? Not being negative, just wondering if they ought to or do.] Google has one, too. It’s good to see these ’home-brewed’ efforts, but personally I’d like to have seen a single official one. Update 23th Feb: the contents of the wiki are being moved to the google service. (H/T @Kubke)

Woman on top of collapsed building (now rescued):

The building above is apparently the PGG building, which has pancaked which each floor falling on the one below it. One report has people trapped in the building. (22nd Feb. 5:42pm: latest reports say there are at least 30 people inside.)

TV news is reporting that there will be a civil defence news conference at 4:15pm.

Detail information can be had at the USGS (US Geological Survey) website.

An incident map is available, e.g.


By good luck the NZ Army members were in Christchurch on an exercise and able to provide immediate assistance. [The full story is more complex - and too long-winded to add as a brief note.]

After shocks of magnitude ~5 continue.

IMPORTANT: Southlanders please take note that the emergency numbers are not working, please us these numbers in the meantime: 03 211 3044, or for fire: 03 214 3779

More via twitter:

Stephen Fry expresses his dismay and encourages followers to assist:

Tweeted by: @stephenfry Stephen Fry

Oh dear, poor Christchurch. Another horrific earthquake. redcross.org.nz/donate #chch #eqnz bit.ly/hNpWMZ

Tweeted by: @Francis_Jenkins Francis Jenkins

Reports that there are just bodies lying around outside shops just lying there just covered in bricks #eqnz #NZearthquake [unconfirmed]

Tweeted by: @BooksellersNZ: (Emma) UBS ChCh “Shop is in chaos, staff okay. University evacuated and will be closed for some time.” #eqnz

There are mixed called for blood donations, but a number of reports (incl. TVNZ) say NZ Blood is asking people not to contact them at this point in time. NZ Blood has this on their Facebook page:

CHCH Earthquake update: Currently we have good supplies of blood in Christchurch and have supplies we can bring in from other centres. At this stage we are fine for blood stocks, but if the situation changes we will let people know through Facebook and our website. Our Chch Donor Centre will be closed for the rest of the week.

There are calls for those with 4WD vehicles to assist moving injured people. (via TV3 news; unconfirmed with official services.)

Lyttelton tunnel is closed, as you would expect. (Since re-opened for the night for emergency vehicle access.) Most (all?) petrol stations are closed from what I understand.

NZ has accepted offer of emergency assistance from Australia. (This wasn’t considered needed for September 4th event.)

Telecom NZ has made all phoneboxes in the area free temporarily for local calls.

I have to admit it’s hard sitting here taking it all in when most of the people I know well are up there.

Good material here from a geologist. I should pause here and apologise for the scatter-gun approach, rather a formal article. I hope what I am presenting, besides helping NZers get a condensed form of the key points as they come in, gives readers outside New Zealand the feeling of trying to follow the event and picking up the pieces as they come in.

Civil defence reports continue (now up to report 5).

Radio NZ reports that hospitals in other centres, including Dunedin, are discharging patients that can go home. Dunedin hospital are asking people if they could visit their family GP in the first instance if possible. Timaru hospital is being made available to take some cases.

Early reports are of 65 confirmed dead in the latest update of this on-going report. (This article has garnered over 400 comments.)

The Science Media Centre (who host these blogs) now has a resources page up and expert commentary from scientists.

The Mayor of Christchurch has asked that people not gather at Hagley Park, but to look to either the centres set up at Burnside High School or elsewhere. Addington Raceway centre is now CLOSED. Other centres are at Papanui High School, Lyttelton Recreation Centre, Brooklands Community Centre and Akaroa Senior School. (Updated: 23nd Feb, 9:45 am.)

The Guardian has an extensive continuously-updated article with a live blog taking over from 9pm tonight. (I’ve no way of competing with the likes of that. Besides, they get paid to do it!)

Early video footage. Please note some scenes may disturb.

Approximately 30 million tonnes of ice ‘calved’ off the Tasman glacier during the earthquake. The Tasman glacier is ~200km from Christchurch. One report says that’s enough ice to form a cube of ~320 metres on each side.

Signing off for the night. An excellent page listing sources of information can be found at The Evolving Newsroom. (H/T: @Kubke.) I would add more photos, but am short on time. The ABC website has one of the better photo collections I’ve seen thus far. The sciblogs staff have added a short video to the main page.

23nd February, am.

The McQueens valley drum illustrates very well the calm before the storm, as it were, and the aftershocks that followed:

(Source: GeoNet.co.nz)

(Source: GeoNet.co.nz)

There are some reports that some petrol (aka gas, for those in the USA) stations are open, but only for emergency services.

The KAREN network have opened their video conferencing service for earthquake-affected people.

Water is being brought in and distributed from a number of primary schools for people to fill their own containers: Lyttleton, Redcliffs, South New Brighton, Shirley, Wainoni and Phillipstown. (From 11am, apparently.)

All of CBD is closed off to public and under curfew. People are being asked not to go into the central city.

About 70 emergency specialists have arrived from Australia. Another approximately 70 are being sent from the USA. [23rd Feb.: I’ve seen reports that 600 overseas rescue staff are working in the city; unconfirmed.]

Canadian couple have safely made it out of the cathedral.

The video of aerial shots below opens with the timeball station in Lyttelton, then Lyttelton streets (first video coverage of Lyttleton I have seen thus far). The shot with lots of earth is the landslide near Sumner. The collapsed PGG building is shown at about 1:16.

YouTube Preview Image

Visitors to Christchurch are being offered to fly to Wellington courtesy of the Royal New Zealand Air Force to free up accommodation and aid non-residents to leave. Air New Zealand is offering $NZ 50 flights (Tasman & Pacific Island) and international $NZ 400, both one-way. [No mention of domestic.] A few individual offers of flights and accommodation can be found on twitter. The car parks at the airport are free for today. There are accounts of international travellers trying to leave having trouble with having lost documentation during the earthquake.

For those trying to connect to missing persons, the Red Cross line is open for both NZers and those from overseas (David Huebner is the US ambassador to New Zealand):

@DavidHuebner: Red Cross missing person line now active. In NZ: 0800 REDCROSS (0800 733 276). From outside: +64 7 850 2199 #EQNZ #CHCH

10am: Further expert commentary is available, via the Science Media Centre.

Just a thought/tip for those wishing to donate: please be careful of scams. It’s unlikely, but it does happen unfortunately.

11:15am: Additional water stations at Lyttelton West School, Governor’s Bay primary school and Diamond Harbour petrol station.

Long-time local journalist Vicki Anderson has written an excellent on-the-ground account, The day that the earth roared (with photos). [Strongly recommended. 23rd Feb. 12:41: Peter Griffin says she is a music critic; I must have been thinking of someone else - ?]

This informal interview from a person in Lyttelton. Logistical information can be found in the civil defence updates. Another collection of photographs is available at the Brisbane Times website.

The Chancellor Hotel buckling, one of the tallest buildings in Christchurch; reports suggest it is in danger of collapsing (left=before; right=now).

Some further information is being added to comments below this post.

24th Feb, am: Quick edit for the worst of the typos, etc. Some will no doubt remain; I have trouble reading the tiny type in the WordPress editor – it’s an on-going problem that I have yet to find time to find a solution I am happy with. (For MarsEdit fans: yes, I’ve tried it, but it’s never worked properly for me!)

With the exception of photos or videos, any further updates are likely to be in the comments.

24th Feb., 10:20am: Aftershocks:


Dust cloud immediately after the quake, taken from Port Hills, looking north to city centre (the dust is probably from all the collapsing buildings):


Click on image to see larger version.

Earlier earthquake-related posts on Code for life:

Earthquake, South Island, New Zealand (The Sep. 4th event.)

Earthquake warning systems (and twitterers)

Magnitude vs. intensity; Chile vs. Haiti

Major earthquake in Samoa, 8.3