A shallow quake, especially one that lasts a long time, will cause a tremendous amount of damage. This one did. It was a 6.6 by NZ standards, a 6.3 according to USGS, but it was only 4 feet deep and reverberated for over a minute. A shallow, long lasting quake such as this would have caused more damage than last year’s 7.3.
A twitter commenter said “Watching TV3 live – apocalyptic…lots of car horns, sirens, confused people and the Cathedral has no top”. This videographer said “It’s terrifying.”
This was the first photo posted on Twitpic:
Radio New Zealand reported widespread damage to the city centre, with a church on Durham St collapsed and concrete lifted by up to a metre. A Newstalk ZB reporter in Christchurch said liquefaction was spewing out of the ground at St Albans High School. School kids had to be removed from the fields with liquefaction also spewing from the tennis courts.