Death toll from shallow 6.5-magnitude quake that struck at dawn rises to 97, as officials call for excavation equipment and emergency supplies The death toll from a powerful earthquake that struck off Indonesia’s Sumatra island at dawn on Wednesday has risen to 97, with more people feared trapped in collapsed buildings. Search and rescue teams in Aceh province, an area previously devastated by , used tractors to shift the rubble in attempts to reach people buried in their houses.
We immediately ran outside the house but it crumbled. Everything from the roof to the floor collapsed.
A 6.2 magnitude earthquake has struck central Italy. Here is a list of major quakes in the country since start of the 20th century A strong earthquake early on Wednesday, trapping residents and sending others fleeing into the streets. Here is a list of major earthquakes in Italy since the start of the 20th century:
When earthquakes strike in south Asia, thousands of children are at risk from fragile school buildings. Evacuation drills are aiming to reduce the potential death toll As soon as the school bell rang, Lucky Akhter, 15, dropped down on her knees and took cover under a bench. When a second bell rang, she and 30 other students walked out of the classroom, joining a queue of about 300 students covering their heads with books and bags. The students at Yearpur high school in Savar, north-west of Dhaka, were practising an earthquake drill prompted by the increasing frequency of tremors in Bangladesh over the past four years.
Long Beach quake of 1933 in which up to 120 people died is among several possibly linked with early extraction methods Several damaging Los Angeles-area earthquakes of the 1920s and 1930s, including the deadliest ever in southern California, may have been brought on by oil production during the region’s drilling boom of that era, US government scientists have reported. The findings of a possible link between oil extraction and seismic events in the LA basin do not apply to modern industry practices but suggest the natural rate of quake occurrences in the region may be lower than previously calculated, the scientists said.
Tremors return to central region that suffered deadly quakes in 2016, with towns blocked by snow and without electricity Four strong earthquakes have shaken the same region of central Italy that suffered deadly tremors last year, further isolating towns that have been buried under more than a metre of snow for days.
Cordons in central Wellington over fears of building collapse
one of the most complex earthquakes ever recorded on land.
Before (March 2016)/After (Nov 2016) Worldview 2 images of Waipapa Bay (c) NextView. Same location as helicopter pic.
Here’s our latest report from New Zealand on evacuations and fears for wildlife:
The evacuation of Kaikoura is almost complete, Associated Press reports: Air Commodore Darryn Webb, the acting commander of New Zealand’s joint forces, told the Associated Press that crews were loading about 380 people and three dogs on to a navy ship. He said the ship was due to leave Wednesday evening for a six-hour trip to a port near Christchurch. Webb said it had evacuated another 340 people by helicopter since Tuesday.
As the dust begins to settle three days after New Zealand’s devastating earthquake, there are growing concerns for the fate of endangered marine wildlife off the coast of Kaikoura, with experts unable to get out to sea to assess their condition. A submarine canyon 800m off the Kaikoura shore is responsible for the rich array of marine animals attracted to the area, including half a dozen species of whale, rare and endangered dolphins, blue penguins, New Zealand fur seals and protected native bird life.
The upward revising of Monday’s earthquake from 7.5 to 7.8 might not seem huge, but it means more than the 0.3 difference might suggest. at the US Geological Survey shows that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake is nearly twice as big (1.995 times) as a 7.5 quake.
The revised magnitude of 7.8 makes this the largest earthquake in New Zealand since the Dusky Sound quake of July 2009 – also a 7.8. Then, the remote location – at New Zealand’s south-west tip, in the Fiordland National Park – meant there were no recorded casualties and few landslides.
The home of the critically endangered Hutton Shearwater in Kaikoura has been severely damaged by the quake. Karen Baird, Seabird Conservation Advocate for conservation organisation says: The earthquake has caused a landslide that has damaged the breeding grounds of our critically endangered Hutton Shearwater. Half of the largest colony has slipped away (there are two colonies). Birds will be on eggs at the moment, so it’s a devastating loss for a species already considered at risk.
Sad news from Kaikoura where half of one of two breeding colonies for Hutton's Shearwater has slipped away.
Geonet, which had originally <(a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2016/nov/16/new-zealand-earthquake-help-stranded-kaikoura-live?page=with:block-582be018e4b06ac41294e04a#block-582be018e4b06ac41294e04a">with caveats) recorded the mainshock at 7.5 magnitude, has on the new 7.8 rating. It explains: Early indications are that this is one of the most complex earthquakes ever recorded on land. This complexity means we have had to take extraordinary efforts to determine the magnitude, depth, and locations … Due to the size of the quakes, we’ve gathered data from our entire network of seismic stations. All of these stations would not normally need to be included in magnitude estimates.
The acting minister of civil defence, Gerry Brownlee, also offered an update on the evacuations from Kaikoura: The HMNZS Canterbury will this evening set sail to Lyttelton [a port town close to Christchurch] with about 390 evacuees from Kaikoura on board. The ship is expected to arrive around 11pm tonight, depending on weather conditions and the amount of time it takes to upload those waiting in Kaikoura.
Gerry Brownlee, the acting minister of civil defence, has explained why the magnitude of Monday’s mainshock has been revised upwards: informed my office of the revised magnitude earlier today after reassessing the data from its stations across the country. Because it took over a minute for the fault to rupture during this event, the standard method normally used to calculate the energy released during an earthquake was insufficient.
Reports had varied on the strength of the initial quake that struck shortly after midnight on Monday morning. New Zealand’s own monitoring service, Geonet, had measured the earthquake as magnitude 7.5 (and that’s what we at the Guardian have been using in our reporting up to now). Why were our magnitudes different from the USGS: About magnitude variability We have currently established that the local magnitude for this earthquake is 7.5, but this may be reviewed over time when more detailed research is undertaken. This may bring it closer to the internationally-derived value (e.g. Mw7.8 by the US Geological Survey).
The New Zealand government has officially upgraded the magnitude of Monday’s earthquake from 7.5 to 7.8.
Evacuations from Kaikoura continue, with hundreds of people – mostly tourists – who have been trapped since the town was cut off from road access now being taken out by boat to the navy vessel HMNZS Canterbury:
The latest report from Geonet, New Zealand’s earthquake monitor, tallies the number of quakes felt in the country since Monday’s mainshock at 1,823. At 4.30pm local time (2.30pm AEDT, 3.30am GMT), Geonet had recorded 15 quakes in the previous hour, and 307 in the preceding 12 hours.
16.30 pm update: 15 eqs in last hour, 307 eqs in last 12 hrs (18 over M4) and 1823 eqs since the M7.5. Kaikoura Earthquake
One unexpected side-effect of the quake has been the apparent raising of the seabed at Kaikoura. Dr Joshu Mountjoy, a marine geologist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, the phenomenon was probably due to movement of the Hundalee fault: Some faults go side-to-side while others move vertically, like in this case, where the fault has pushed the land up into the air, and it appears to be by about a metre.
Aerial photographs show the seabed uplift north of Kaikoura - estimated to be between 2 - 2.5 metres.
Before (March 2016)/After (Nov 2016) Worldview 2 images of Waipapa Bay (c) NextView. Same location as helicopter pic.
Reuters has this report on the latest from the South Island coastal town: Two New Zealand navy vessels on Wednesday reached a small South Island town cut off for more than two days by a devastating earthquake, bringing supplies of food and water and plans to evacuate hundreds of stranded tourists and residents. Prime minister John Key went to Kaikoura by helicopter to inspect damage to roads that cut off the seaside tourist town after the 7.5 magnitude quake that struck just after midnight on Sunday.
Flew down to Kaikoura again today to check in with locals and get an idea of what further support the region needs. The government was expecting to receive satellite imagery later on Wednesday to assess massive landslips around the country. The quake buffeted much of central New Zealand and left two people dead. “Look at this road here,” Key said on his journey to Kaikoura, around 150km (90 miles) north of Christchurch. “I just don’t see how you can ever repair that bit of road. The whole mountain has moved over.”
A sense of the scale of the task ahead clearing roads to Kaikoura and other towns cut off by landslides is emerging as more pictures arrive. This is the road to Waiau <(a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/15/surviving-in-waiau-the-forgotten-town-closest-to-the-nz-quake-epicentre">read more about how that town is coping here):
Evacuations – principally of tourists – are continuing from Kaikoura. In addition to the airlifts that began yesterday, HMNZS Canterbury is now anchored nearby and people are being taken out of the stranded town by sea.
Those 1200-odd tourists being evacuated from Kaikoura sure come with a lot of luggage
Supplies are coming thick & fast on choppers returning from Woodend welfare centre
The evacuation in central Wellington is affecting a number of other organisations who have their offices on Molesworth Street – including the New Zealand Red Cross, which is playing a key role in relief efforts elsewhere in the country. New Zealand Rugby headquarters, the Thai embassy and the city’s Anglican cathedral have also been evacuated.
We are working hard to get our HQ up & running, whilst ensuring the priority remains helping the people of
The mayor of Wellington, Justin Lester has just been speaking about the office building at 61 Molesworth Street, in the centre of the city, that has been deemed unsafe and liable to collapse. He told reporters: Internally there were some problems … That’s why it’s a likelihood it will be deconstructed.
The US department of defence has deployed the USS Sampson to aid the relief effort in New Zealand. The warship was already in the region as part of events to mark Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary. It was the first US warship to visit New Zealand for 30 years, since Wellington adopted a nuclear-free policy in the 1980s. That meant a blanket ban on US ships, since America will not confirm whether its vessels have nuclear capabilities. The guided missile destroyer USS Sampson is rushing to New Zealand to help those affected by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake … Navy Admiral Harry Harris, the Pacom commander, said the ship carries two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters that will be invaluable at the scene …
Department of conservation (DOC) ranger Mike Morrissey that some seals were likely to have been killed in the landslide at Ohau Point, while others would be returning from sea to find their home gone: Those seals generally come back to the area where they were born. They’ll go in there and it won’t be like anywhere they recognise before, so they’ll probably just go and breed on other parts of the coast. The majority of that breeding colony [at Ohau Point] is completely gone. It’s just rock.
Environmentalist Kimberley Collins has shared this video of seals at Kaikoura’s Ohau Point – the area is believed to have been destroyed by landslides prompted by the earthquake:
Gutted to hear the seal breeding colony at Ohau Point has been destroyed in the quake. I loved watching them play in the rock pools!
Meanwhile, in Wellington, Molesworth Street in the CBD – just round the corner from the parliament – remains cordoned off amid fears an office building is facing collapse.
another view of building on Molesworth We have a clear structural failure. What’s caused that will be determined later. The clear structural failure is a major beam, a vertical beam in the building, has been shorn. It looks somewhat like a broken bone in the leg. It is fractured through. It is a major supporting beam. It is up above the fifth floor, so it is the top four floors.
As relief efforts continue for people affected by the quake and its fallout, concerns are also shifting to the fate of wildlife, especially in the South Island. Kaikoura’s famed seal sanctuary at Ohau Point is reported to have been wiped out by a landslide. It is clear from reports that the recent earthquakes have impacted upon wildlife, including seals, penguins and seabirds. DOC’s immediate priority in the aftermath of the earthquakes is to assist Civil Defence with the recovery effort, including ensuring that structures and tracks are safe. DOC is aware there has been a large slip at Ohau Point, which is a specially protected seal sanctuary. Images indicate the landslips are likely to have resulted in casualties to seals.
Although relief efforts – and international attention – have been focused on Kaikoura, which has been cut off from road access since the quake struck in the early hours of Monday, other communities have also been hit. And some feel they need more help than they are getting, as Eleanor Ainge Roy reports from Waiau, the town closest to the epicentre: Waiau, in north Canterbury, is home to 280 people. Its name means flowing water in Māori. And flowing water has been the community’s main concern these last couple of days, after unstable bridges over the grey Waiau river made road access impossible for relief vehicles, or residents wanting to leave. Although located only 80km (50 miles) south-west of Kaikoura – where a massive relief operation is under way – people in Waiau feel they have been left to fend for themselves.
The initial magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit just after midnight as Sunday moved into Monday – 60 hours later, New Zealand has been shaken by 1,718 quakes, some severe. New Zealanders have been warned that aftershocks are likely to continue for some time yet.
12 pm update: 37 eqs in the last hour, 336 eqs in last 12 hrs (21 over M4) and 1718 eqs since the M7.5. Kaikoura Earthquake
Welcome to our continuing live coverage of the aftermath of Monday’s massive earthquake in New Zealand. Relief efforts continue, with hundreds of people who have been stranded in Kaikoura, a coastal town in the South Island popular with tourists, starting to be shipped out to the HMNZS Canterbury, which has anchored nearby.
Poor infrastructure, deforestation and failure to prepare for earthquakes and storms put the island at very high risk Haiti, which is feeling the force of Hurricane Matthew, with winds of 145mph and 3ft of rain, is all too accustomed to natural hazards and disasters.
This graphic shows how shaking from the magnitude 7.4 quake rippled across Japan from 5.59am local time:
Map showing local ground acceleration as quake propagated. (via )
Tsunami waves were filmed surging up the Sunaoshi river in Tagajo city after a quake of magnitude 7.4 shook Japan’s eastern coast, prompting evacuation warnings:
Today’s quake was an aftershock of the 2011 magnitude 9 earthquake, the Japan Meteorological Agency has said. But what is the difference? : Seismologists label an earthquake as an aftershock using two guidelines. First, the earthquake must occur within an ‘aftershock zone’, which is usually defined as the region within one fault-rupture length of the mainshock rupture surface or the area defined by seismologists based on previous aftershock activity.
Pointing out that Tuesday’s quake was an aftershock of the 2011 earthquake, the Japan Meteorological Agency also warned that another large quake could be expected within the next few days. People in Japan have been warned to “remain cautious” for the next week.
The Japan Meteorological Agency has said that Tuesday’s earthquake was an aftershock of the enormous, in 2011, which killed more than 15,000 people and sent the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into meltdown.
New Zealand also experienced an earthquake on Tuesday, just over a week after a 7.8 magnitude quake rocked the South Island. Tuesday’s was a magnitude 5.6 quake, which hit off the coast about 200km (120 miles) northeast of Wellington, the capital, at around 1.20pm local time (00.20 GMT).
There have been no reports of deaths or serious injuries caused by the earthquake, with Japanese media reporting around six people have suffered minor injuries.
All tsunami warnings have now been cancelled for Japan’s Pacific coast. The Japan Meteorological Agency has confirmed: Tsunami advisories have been lifted for the following coastal regions of Japan: Iwate prefecture, Miyagi prefecture, Fukushima prefecture, Ibaraki prefecture. Slight sea-level changes may be observed in coastal regions, but no tsunami damage is expected.
Stock markets have rebounded after an early wobble, Agence France-Presse reports: Asian markets rose Tuesday with energy stocks tracking a surge in oil prices, while Tokyo recovered an early sell-off caused by a huge earthquake off Japan’s northeast coast. The yen strengthened against the dollar after the quake as investors sought out safe haven assets but gave up most of the gains as it emerged there was no major damage.
has downgraded tsunami warnings issued after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit off the country’s east coast, as the risk of major damage appeared to pass. The quake, which struck east of Fukushima prefecture at about 6am on Tuesday, prompted urgent warnings for people to leave low-lying areas in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures as a series of tsunami waves hit the shore.
While immediate fears around the quake and tsunami appear to have calmed, many people in Japan have been shocked by the morning’s events, Agence France-Presse reports: Residents along the coast were badly shaken. “It was huge and lasted so long,” Akemi Anzai, from the city of Minamisoma which lies north of the Fukushima plant, said of the quake.
Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, has spoken about the earthquake from Buenos Aires, which he is visiting after attending the Apec summit in Peru: A strong earthquake was observed off the coast of Fukushima a short while ago and the tsunami alerts were issued. From my side, to the nation, we asked that proper and accurate information over the tsunami and the evacuation should be issued, and also to grasp and understand the condition of the damage as quickly as possible, and also to take proper emergency measures.
Paul Somerville, chief geoscientist with risk frontiers at Australia’s Macquarie University, says: This earthquake was a normal faulting earthquake that occurred at a shallow depth within the plate that overlies the Tohoku subduction zone, which generated . It indicates east-west extension within the overriding plate, presumably due to the relaxation of horizontal stress that built up before the 2001 event. It occurred about 30km offshore of Fukushima.
Transport has been affected by the quake and subsequent alerts. Sendai port and Suma port have been affected by tsunami waves, although the warning has now been downgraded to an advisory.
Flights to Sendai Airport have been delayed or cancelled following a 7.4 earthquake off the coast of Fukushima.
Associated Press has more on that incident – now resolved – at the Fukushima power plant: A utility official says he believes a cooling water pump that stopped working at a Japanese nuclear power plant after a strong earthquake was shut off automatically by a safety system as the water in the pool shook. The utility says a backup pump was launched to restore cooling water to spent fuel storage pool at the No 3 reactor of the Fukushima Daini plant.
Yoshihide Suga, chief cabinet secretary, also addressed reporters’ questions about the Fukushima power plant. He confirmed the affected reactor had resumed cooling function after a temporary stoppage. Japan’s nuclear power plants have the most strict regulations in the world. We always think of the worst-case scenario … safety is the utmost priority.
Yoshihide Suga, chief cabinet secretary, is speaking at a press conference. He says tsunami warnings have been lifted and downgraded to “advisory”, adding: Residents, please continue to evacuate … and please always listen to the latest information. The government will continue to address how many people have sustained injury.
Tsunami warnings for the Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures have to alerts, a lower level of risk. People in those areas are still advised to avoid the shore.
The epicentre of the earthquake is off the coast of Fukushima. The magnitude 7.4 quake hit at a depth of around 20km, according to latest reports.
The earthquake shook buildings in Tokyo, 240km (150 miles) southwest of the epicentre. Kirsty Brown is an Australian who has been living in Tokyo with her husband and 18-month-old daughter for just seven weeks. The family lives 20 minutes from Shinkjuku, and woke up to the earthquake early this morning: I’d experienced a small quake here on one of our visits several years ago. I thought my husband pushed me out of the bed that time, but this was quite a good deal stronger, and you could feel the whole house wobble. The sensation was similar to your bed suddenly deciding to zig-zag, and it lasted for around 90 seconds. No alarms went off, no alerts came to our phones. My dog and husband rolled over and went back to sleep, but I immediately took to my phone to see if I should be getting us ready for a bigger quake.
Australian on hols in Tokyo, Sumida. Building was shaking and swaying for 5 mins at 6am
Nissan is suspending work at its Fukushima factory, Reuters reports: Nissan Motor Co said it would suspend work at its engine factory in Fukushima at least until a tsunami warning is lifted after a powerful earthquake rocked northern Japan early on Tuesday. A spokesman said there were no injuries or damage at the plant, which was badly damaged in an earthquake and tsunami disaster in March 2011.
Japan’s National Police Agency has said two people were slightly injured during the quake. NHK News that one woman in Yabuki, Fukushima prefecture, was hurt when a cupboard fell over.
Experts in Australia have been assessing today’s earthquake against the devastating 2011 quake and tsunami: Professor James Goff, director of the Australia-Pacific tsunami research centre and natural hazards research laboratory, University of New South Wales, says: In general, with the size of the earthquake experienced, I would not expect any wave to reach the heights of those experienced in 2011, but that does not mean that this event will not be damaging. Tsunamis as small as 90cm can be extremely damaging and so in a sense, we are ‘watching this space’… One concern is not necessarily the size of the earthquake itself but whether or not it might generate submarine landslides that can themselves generate large tsunamis. Today’s event is much smaller than the 2011 catastrophic event. The earthquake maybe an aftershock of the 2011 event. It has affected the same region as the 2011 event. A regional tsunami has been generated – smaller than 2011 but still potentially dangerous. People who live in the region have been advised to evacuate, with authorities taking no chances after the 2011 disaster.
A 1.4m-high tsunami wave has been observed in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, at 8.03am. It’s the highest so far recorded, although officials stress that second and subsequent waves could be higher, and are still urging people in affected areas to move to higher ground.
There have so far been reports of only minor injuries following the magnitude 7.4 quake, which struck just before 6am local time at a depth of 25km.
Some photos from Kyodo, via Reuters, which are being circulated to news agencies. They show a traffic jam and concerned onlookers.
The Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has issued a statement: I have ordered government officials to provide the public with up-to-date and accurate information concerning tsunami evacuation.
Tepco says the Fukushima power plant “remains intact” and safe. The company confirms the reactor number 3 spent fuel pool pump tripped and stopped operating at 6.10am.
The Fukushima Daini reactor 3 cooling system, , has been restored. The operator of the plant said no abnormalities have been observed.
A tsunami warning has now been issued for the Miyagi prefecture, expanding the zone believed to be under threat. Residents are told to evacuate their homes for higher ground.
The (JMA) is holding a news conference. It says the initial quake, recorded at 5.59am, has been revised up to magnitude 7.4.
The tide level is still rising along the coast, with waves as high as 1m now reaching the shore. Residents are being instructed to stay away from the water.
Residents of Japan’s northern Pacific coast are still being told to leave their homes and seek higher ground via televised tsunami advisories:
NHK reports from Fukushima that the Fukushima Daini Reactor 3 cooling system has stopped operating, but “no abnormalities have been observed”. Tepco, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, says cooling water has not leaked and it is preparing to resume operation within one to two hours.
Earthquakes are a familiar experience for Japan, as AFP details: Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year. A sent a tsunami barrelling into Japan’s northeast coast, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing, and sending three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
This is Claire Phipps picking up the live blog coverage. The Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is currently in in Buenos Aires, after attending the Apec summit in Peru.
The first tsunami waves to reach the coast of Fukushima, Japan have ranged between 30 and 90cm, much lower than the three metres that was at first predicted. However, Japanese media warn that the tsunami’s waves can increase over time as it continues to strike the coast.
The coolant pool at one of the reactors at Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant, one of two in the region, has been turned off, according to NHK World. There is no danger at this time at the site of the plant, and there is plenty of time before the reactors get dangerously warm.
Today’s tsunami will not be nearly as large as 2011’s disastrous wave, according to Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist and scientist emerita at the US Geological Survey.
Tsunami recorded near Fukushima from today's M7.3 quake. Mag=size of fault & this is much smaller than 3.11.11
At Fukushima’s two nuclear power plants, Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini, external power sources and coolant water have not been affected so far by the earthquake, according to NHK World. “Now staff are watching closely to see any abnormalities.” In this video you can see water rushing out of the harbor at Iwaki City. Water levels typically go down just before a tsunami strikes the shoreline.
Video from NHK live stream shows water rushing out of the harbor at Iwaki City in Japan just now.
Japanese broadcaster NHK world is reporting that waves are beginning to arrive. 60cm tsunami waves have been observed offshore, and the waves are expected to be as high as three metres when they reach the shoreline, NHK reports. You can watch the live broadcast, which is being live-translated into English, .
This is the full text of the tsunami warning issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (note that the strength of the earthquake was at first reported to be 7.3 magnitude but was later downgraded to 6.9, according to the US Geological Survey).
warning issued by Pacific Tsunami Warning Center for 7.3 magnitude in Japan today
A tsunami warning has been issued in Fukushima Prefecture after an earthquake struck off the East coast of Japan in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
-- Powerful M7.3 hits coast off at 20:59 GMT. alert on.
Kaikoura cut off; air force helicopters mounting rescues
Residents and tourists told to conserve food and water supplies
Office building at risk of collapse in Wellington centre
6 pm update: 25 eqs in the last hour, 313 eqs since 6 am today and 1212 eqs since the M7.5. Kaikoura Earthquake. clear structural failure … a vertical beam in the building has been shorn. It looks somewhat like a broken bone.
Lift block separating from main building I didn’t see the call when it came in, in the hurly burly of things I didn’t notice.
More from Wellington’s fire region manager, Brendan Nally, about the teetering building in Molesworth Street: We have a clear structural failure. What’s caused that will be determined later. The clear structural failure is a major beam, a vertical beam in the building, has been shorn.
Associated Press has this latest on the situation in Wellington centre: Several buildings in the centre of New Zealand’s capital have been evacuated and some streets cordoned off after engineers determined that a building is in danger of collapsing, two days after a powerful earthquake shook the city. Brendan Nally, the regional commander for the New Zealand Fire Service, said engineers were completing an inspection of the downtown Wellington office building on Tuesday when they found that a major vertical beam had failed above the fifth floor.
Another strong aftershock – magnitude 5.7 – has just shaken the Kaikoura region:
M5.7 quake causing strong shaking near Kaikoura
Some readers below the line and on social media have asked whether could have been a factor in the earthquakes: Very interesting and maybe significant is that the unusually close Perigee full moon was right overhead when the first quake struck. Tidal forces pulling on an unstable crust? Very sorry that NZ is having to go through all this upheaval again. Some people have raised concerns about a link with the supermoon. In large groups earthquakes exhibit slight associations with lunar cycles, but this is not reliable for forecasting. We have two tides a day throughout New Zealand and at any one place there is no clear association in location.
Meanwhile, it’s dinner time in Kaikoura, from where Red Cross worker Simon Makker sends this video. (Have the crayfish. The crayfish is really good.)
Earthquake kai-time at the Marae welfare centre. Crayfish, paua, pasta, salad and sausage rolls!
Wellington’s Molesworth Street – in the central business district and just round the corner from the NZ parliament – remains closed amid fears a building could collapse. Local reports suggest the building in question is 61 Molesworth Street, an eight-storey office block . An 8-level office tower to be extensively refurbished and strengthened to 100% NBS [New Building Standard].
Lift block separating from main building
John Key, the New Zealand prime minister, missed a call from US president-elect while dealing with the aftermath of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck on Monday. Trump was calling Key as part of his first phase of reaching out to world leaders during his transition to the White House. What happened was there was a bit of a discussion between my office and his office on the Saturday about a call. We weren’t strictly sure when the president-elect was going to ring, they said it was in the next couple of hours.
Geonet reports that in the 12 hours from 6am to 6pm on Tuesday, there were 313 quakes across New Zealand, concentrated around that vulnerable north-eastern area of the South Island. That took the total number of earthquakes since the mainshock on Monday to 1,212.
6 pm update: 25 eqs in the last hour, 313 eqs since 6 am today and 1212 eqs since the M7.5. Kaikoura Earthquake.
M5.2 quake causing strong shaking near Kaikoura
Reports have varied on the strength of the initial quake that struck shortly after midnight on Monday morning. New Zealand’s own monitoring service, Geonet, has measured the earthquake as magnitude 7.5 (and that’s what we at the Guardian have decided to use in our reporting for now). Why were our magnitudes different from the USGS: About magnitude variability We have currently established that the New Zealand local magnitude for this earthquake is 7.5, but this may be reviewed over time when more detailed research is undertaken. This may bring it closer to the internationally-derived value (e.g. Mw7.8 by the US Geological Survey).
The headquarters of the New Zealand Red Cross are right next to the building in Wellington that is threatening to collapse – and staff have now been evacuated:
The HQ in Wellington has been immediately evacuated. The building next door collapsing and in danger of falling on us 1/2
Sarah Stuart-Black, director of civil defence, has just been briefing the media on the latest information from the ministry of civil defence and emergency management (MCDEM). Staff from local CDEM groups in Kaikoura, Hurunui and Marlborough and other affected communities … by night, they’re going to be going door to door to check on households. Food, water and fuel are required in Kaikoura, Hurunui and Marlborough. The rest of New Zealand is still operating as usual. We urge caution about approaching buildings that have been damaged.
Here’s a closer view of that Wellington high-rise – the surrounding area has been evacuated over fears the building is unstable and could collapse:
Just got stopped by police on Molesworth St Wellington with a building's glass facade about to peel off.
A section of Wellington’s central business district close to the parliament has been cordoned off amid fears a high-rise building there is at risk of collapse. Molesworth Street has been closed, and nearby buildings evacuated.
A cordon has been set around this Wellington building amid concerns it could collapse. Molesworth St closed too
The civil defence emergency management group for Canterbury – which covers the stranded town of Kaikoura – declared a state of emergency on Tuesday afternoon. Lianne Dalziel, mayor of Christchurch, said: Canterbury Mayors are united in their support for the people of Hurunui [district] and Kaikoura and we believe by declaring a state of local emergency in Canterbury we are in better position to coordinate support across the region.
Wellington’s Westpac stadium has confirmed that, although it has suffered no major structural damage, some repairs are needed and this Saturday’s A-league game will be postponed. A statement on its website said: Following a detailed engineering assessment, Westpac stadium has been cleared of major structural damage. The stadium closed its doors yesterday as a precautionary measure following the Kaikoura 7.5 earthquake early on Monday morning. Stadium offices, and the ground level of the public car park, reopened on Tuesday. However the internal concourse and seating bowl remain closed until repairs have been completed. These repairs are expected to take two weeks to complete.
Reuters reports that China is taking its own steps to evacuate some of its citizens from stricken Kaikoura: China chartered four helicopters to evacuate around 40 nationals, mostly elderly and children, from Kaikoura late on Monday, said Liu Lian, an official at the Chinese consulate in Christchurch. One Chinese national had been treated for a minor head injury in Kaikoura’s hospital, Liu said, and around 60 others would be evacuated on Tuesday.
Reader Sophie Gale, from Somerset, UK, emails to say that she and her partner Ben were holidaying in Wellington when the first quakes began: We are currently staying at the Amora hotel on the seventh floor. I woke up at midnight local time last night as I felt a slight tremor. By the time I woke Ben up, the room was really beginning to shake. He went to the window to look outside and as soon as he crossed the room the full brunt of the earthquake hit and he was thrown across the room. The noise from the earthquake was indescribable, it was incredibly loud, at the same time we could also see bright white flashes outside from power lines being ripped apart. It lasted 30 seconds but it felt a lot longer.
A reader below the line asks: Does anyone know what the difference between an aftershock and a new quake is, especially as aftershocks can still measure in the 5s and 6s? Aftershocks are earthquakes that follow the largest shock of an earthquake sequence. They are smaller than the mainshock and within 1-2 rupture lengths distance from the mainshock. Aftershocks can continue over a period of weeks, months, or years. In general, the larger the mainshock, the larger and more numerous the aftershocks, and the longer they will continue.
Prime minister John Key has that the US, Japan and Malaysia have offered assistance but he is confident the country has the capacity to deal with the aftermath of the earthquakes itself. And Key explains why he missed a call from Donald Trump in the midst of the quake response: I didn’t see the call when it came … in the hurly-burly of things I didn’t notice that.
Images show some of these many landslides – and the effects. In the northeast South Island, a slip has contributed to the breaching of the Clarence river:
it estimates that between 80,000 and 100,000 landslides have been triggered by the succession of quakes: We are roughly estimating from yesterday’s reconnaissance flights that there may have been from 80,000 to 100,000 landslides. Much of the area affected by landslides is in the remote and rugged areas of the Inland and Seaward Kaikoura Ranges … The reports of landslide dams points to a potential developing hazard. Landslide dams can last thousands of years, they can fail slowly or they can fail very quickly. When they fail very quickly they can release large volumes of water and sediment into river systems as a flood wave (flash flood). These floods can be hazardous to river users and we would ask people to stay away from the all rivers on the east coast of the South Island from the Hurunui to the Awatere until inspections have been completed and more precise information can be provided.
John Key, the New Zealand prime minister, has said the weather “certainly isn’t helping” relief efforts: The weather here in Wellington is yet another complicating factor to the aftermath of the earthquakes that took place. There are about 140 people that we’re looking to get out of Kaikoura as rapidly as we can; they’re on the priority list.
Geonet, the New Zealand earthquake monitor, has posted on what it thinks could happen next: We can say one thing with certainty: there will be more earthquakes to come in this area … We’ve developed three scenarios based on what we know so far but be aware that our understanding is evolving as we do more analysis and receive more data. The most likely scenario is that aftershocks will continue to decrease in frequency (and in line with forecasts) over the next 30 days. Felt aftershocks (e.g. over M5) would occur from the M7.5 epicentre near Culverden, right up along the Kaikoura coastline to the Cape Palliser/Wellington area. This includes the potential for aftershocks of between 6.0 and 6.9 (91% within the next 30 days). Scenario one will continue to play out, even if either scenario two or three also occurs. An earthquake smaller than Monday’s mainshock and between M7.0 to M7.5. There are numerous mapped faults in the Marlborough or Cook Strait areas capable of such an earthquake. It may also occur on an unmapped fault. This earthquake may be onshore or offshore but close enough to cause severe shaking on land. This scenario includes the possibility of an earthquake in the Hikurangi Subduction Zone. Such earthquakes have the potential to generate tsunami. A much less likely scenario than the previous two scenarios is that recent earthquake activity will trigger an earthquake larger than Monday’s M7.5 main shock. This includes the possibility for an earthquake of greater than M8.0, which could be on the ‘plate interface’ (where the Pacific Plate meets the Australian Plate). Although it is still very unlikely, the chances of this occurring have increased since the M7.5 earthquake.
the most recent aftershock near Seddon, in the north of the South Island, as “severe”, of 5.2 magnitude. It was at 2.43pm local time – about 20 minutes ago – at a depth of 12km.
A series of strong aftershocks is currently affecting both islands. All rail services in Wellington – already disrupted due to the weather – have now been cancelled.
Well that was freaky sitting in Parliament with the finance minister talking about when quite a large one hit, English keeps talking!
The quakes continue – New Zealand has already experienced over 1,000 of them since Sunday night. These are just within the last few minutes:
M5.8 quake causing strong shaking near Kaikoura
M5.6 quake causing strong shaking near Seddon
Some of those airlifted out of Kaikoura today have reached Christchurch. Four Air Force NH90 helicopters have been deployed to rescue tourists and those locals who want to leave the stranded town, which currently has no road access. Civil defence officials earlier said 34 people had been airlifted out of the town on Tuesday morning. Hundreds remain.
Marlborough civil defence is in the process of evacuating people stranded on the swollen Clarence River, on the northeast of the South Island. Today it helicoptered out six locals, whom the Red Cross said were “shaken and scared”.
Residents of the Hutt Valley, in the Wellington region, are being evacuated due to flooding. Although the timing of the bad weather – torrential rain and gale-force winds – is an unhappy coincidence following the massive earthquake and its aftershocks that continue to rattle both islands, the quakes have left some areas more vulnerable to landslides, and some slips have been reported in and around Wellington, damaging property and blocking roads. Public transport has, unsurprisingly, been disrupted.
Oh good golly!!!
In case you were worried about the stranded cows, they have now been rescued. The happy news that the cattle had been saved came on Tuesday when Newshub reported that the farmer who owned them of their predicament. The farmer said they were part of a larger group of 14 rescued from the paddock, which had been torn up by the quake.
Geonet, the New Zealand earthquake monitor, says that up to now, there have been 1,078 quakes following the enormous 7.5 magnitude temblor that hit the South Island on Sunday night. On Tuesday alone, there have been 177 quakes between 6am and 1pm; with 34 aftershocks in the hour since midday alone.
1 pm update: 34 eqs in the last hour, 177 eqs since 6 am today and 1078 eqs since the M7.5. Kaikoura Earthquake.
The ministry of civil defence and emergency management (MCDEM) has just held a press briefing. Sarah Stuart-Black, director of civil defence, told reporters that damage has been reported to properties in the South and North islands. With the amount of helicopter trips, we’ll be able to get quite a number of people out today.
In Wellington, pounded by heavy rains and strong winds in the wake of the quakes, roads – including state highways – are flooded, leaving the capital city effectively cut off. Residents in the Hutt Valley region of Wellington are being evacuated from their homes after the Waiwhetu Stream broke its banks.
Flooding closes major routes in and out of with motorists warned to stay off the roads
Some Lower Hutt properties are being evacuated due to flooding on the Waiwhetu Stream. We'll have the latest weather news on our show 2night
that 40 tourists have been flown out of Kaikoura by military helicopter. But with hundreds still waiting, it could take up to four days to get everyone out.
UPDATE || One of our Seasprite helicopters is also heading south to assist in the earthquake evacuation //
Meanwhile, the aftershocks continue, this just a few minutes ago near the beleaguered town of Kaikoura:
M3.6 quake causing light shaking near Kaikoura
My colleague Eleanor Ainge Roy is in Hanmer Springs, close to the epicentre of the quake. She sends this latest on the situation in Kaikoura: The town has two days of clean water supplies after the council’s water tank sustained major damage. Helicopters are flying in water bladders and engineers to try to re-establish a clean supply. People in Kaikoura have been told to urgently conserve the existing supply and use it for drinking only. Food and fuel resources are also low, though local restaurants and residents have donated much of their own stores to the relief effort, including seafood and crayfish.
A major relief effort is currently underway to reach thousands of people still stranded in the wake of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that has left roads blocked across parts of the South and North islands. Military helicopters and a navy ship have been dispatched to rescue about 1,000 tourists, along with residents, who are , South Island, which has been cut off from land access.
A farm in New Zealand with an active fault line running through it has become a mecca for geologists seeking to unlock secrets deep underground When dairy farmers Gray and Vicki Eatwell purchased a block of farming land just outside the tiny west coast village of Whataroa in New Zealand, the real-estate agent gestured vaguely at a cliff of striking, green-tinged rock on the border of their property at Gaunt Creek. “She said: ‘That’s the alpine fault, the meeting of the Australian and Pacific plates’,” says Gray Eatwell. “But we thought no more of it, locals were blasé about it. I had no idea my whole life would become about that rock.”