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New Zealand earthquake rips new fault line


Crumpled car from the 7.1-magnitude quake.
Crumpled car from the 7.1-magnitude quake.

Jill Colton, staff writer

September 5, 2010 — The powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake that tore through NZ has ripped a new fault line into the earth's surface.

Remnants of collapsed buildings in Christchurch.
Remnants of collapsed buildings in Christchurch.

The 7.1-magnitude quake that smashed buildings, cracked roads and twisted rail lines in Christchurch is now responsible for tearing a new fault line into the ground.

Mark Quigley, a geology professor at Canterbury University, says that some surface areas have been pushed up about a metre. He believes the quake was caused by the ongoing collision between the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates.

A series of aftershocks rocked the city, that is home to some 400,000 people. At least 500 buildings, including 90 properties in downtown Christchurch, were destroyed by the massive rumblings. Many buildings also sustained minor damages, including shattering glass and crumbling walls of older infrastructure. Police reported road damage, power outages and looters, while there were also disruptions to gas and water supplies.

Many roads sustained damage in the earthquake.
Many roads sustained damage in the earthquake.

Two serious injuries were reported in the quake. New Zealand's prime minister toured the damage site on Saturday and said it was a miracle that no one was killed.

The earthquake was centred 10 kilometers below the Earth's surface. This shallowness created destruction across a wider area. New Zealand sits above an area of the earth's crust where two tectonic plates collide.

The country records more than 14,000 earthquakes a year, but only about 150 are felt by residents. Fewer than 10 a year cause damage.

With files from the Associated Press and Nicole Kallmeyer

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