09/07/2010 18:18

From Mirror News:

The New Zealand earthquake that smashed buildings, cracked roads and twisted railway lines has ripped an 11ft wide fault-line in the Earth.

Mark Quigley, a Canterbury University geology professor, said yesterday what "could be a new fault" had ripped across the planet and pushed up some surface areas.

The quake was caused by the continuing collision between the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates, said Prof Quigley. "One side of the earth has lurched... up to 11 feet," he told New Zealand's National Radio. "We saw two houses that were snapped in half."

At least 500 buildings were damaged and around 90 are likely to be destroyed by the 7.1-magnitude quake that struck before dawn on Saturday, 13 miles west of Christchurch on the South Island.

It cut power and disrupted water supplies across the region, and roads were blocked by the debris.

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said yesterday that power was back to 90% of the city and water supply had resumed for 80 to 85% of residents. Portable toilets and fresh water tanks were placed around the city.

"Our first priority is just people," said Mr Parker. "That's our worry."

Officials said schools would remain closed for the next two days for safety checks.

Only two serious injuries were reported and Prime Minister John Key said it was "a miracle" no one was killed. Part of the reason the city escaped carnage was because the quake came before dawn, said Mr Key.


Share |