When an earthquake in New Zealand collapses cliffs, it can be considered as very severe. The country’s residents have some devastation to deal with, caused not to property, but to natural geological rock formations.
Though the “severe” earthquake caused no serious damage or deaths, New Zealanders will certainly mourn the loss of multiple cliffs that broke off and plummeted into the sea. A strong magnitude-5.8 earthquake struck near Christchurch in New Zealand on Sunday, a mere week prior to the anniversary of the 2011 quake that killed nearly 200 people and caused huge damages, forcing the country to rebuild a majority of its buildings, reported the BBC.
Dust cloud after cliff fall in Sumner 5.9 earthquake just now! pic.twitter.com/Lzn78e5RIO
— Rob Simcic (@RobSimcic) February 14, 2016
The earthquake struck on Valentine’s Day at 13:13 local time (00:13 GMT). Besides the ominous sounding time, the quake tore apart a few cliffs and brought back haunting memories of the 2011 tragedy. The earthquake had been fiercer, registering a magnitude of 6.3 and had claimed the lives of 185 people. The earthquake had destroyed much of New Zealand’s second largest city, reported the Independent. The quake had cost New Zealand more than NZ$40 billion ($26.52 billion) to repair the damages and devastation.
The New Zealand Herald described Sunday’s earthquake as a “major psychological blow for a region still trying to recover from the disaster.” While the earthquake did not cause any deaths this time, it did cause a lot of roofs to collapse. Locals described how people were left screaming and crying. With the memories of the 2011 quake still fresh, many grabbed their near and dear ones and ducked under any solid surface they could find. A few others rushed outside their houses after feeling the tremors, which lasted a few seconds, but felt like an eternity, shared a few New Zealanders. Incidentally, it was during the mad dash to get to open grounds that caused a lot of injuries, as compared to the quake itself.
— Matthew Walker (@matthewwalkr) February 14, 2016
Once the tremors stopped and people began getting back on their feet, many social media users quickly clicked photos of the aftermath and posted them online. The photos show plumes of dust rising from multiple regions.
— Harrison Reid (@harrisonsreid) February 14, 2016
Despite breaking a few cliffs, the earthquake did not cause any tsunamis. Seismologists later confirmed that the epicenter of the quake was on New Zealand’s south island, about 15 km (9 miles) east of Christchurch. However, the quake did not cause any abnormally high waves because it occurred at a very shallow depth of just 15 km (9 miles). The country’s seismological body, Geonet, added that over 40 aftershocks were recorded. There were some reports of liquefaction, as well. Geonet noted that the aftershocks were as severe as magnitude-3.5. The body rated the earthquake as “severe.”
— Chris B (@ChrisB1four1) February 14, 2016
Speaking about the quake, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the following.
“Obviously with a 5.7 magnitude earthquake so close to the eastern coast of Christchurch its certainly been a big shock for the city, a setback in terms of people’s confidence and feeling of security. Our city is stronger than it was five years ago. There are going to be a lot of people out there feeling very vulnerable.”
Apart from breaking off a few cliffs, the tremors also dislodged part of a cliff in Taylor’s Mistake, to the south-east of the city center, reported the Guardian.
— Thomas Wieberneit (@twieberneit) February 14, 2016
There were a lot of swimmers in the sea when the cliffs collapsed. Fortunately, the surf clubs at both the locations which reported falling rocks, confirmed no sailors or walkers had been caught by falling rubble around the cliffs.
New Zealand sits on a highy volatile and vulnerable “Ring of Fire,” which is essentially arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say earthquakes are a common occurrence. However, there have been reports of cliffs collapsing until today.
[Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images]