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2010 September 03 16:35:46 UTC

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Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Location43.530°S, 172.120°E
Depth5 km (3.1 miles) set by location program
Distances45 km (30 miles) W of Christchurch, New Zealand
200 km (125 miles) SSE of Westport, New Zealand
290 km (180 miles) NNE of Dunedin, New Zealand
330 km (205 miles) SW of WELLINGTON, New Zealand
Location UncertaintyError estimate not available
ParametersNST=374, Nph=374, Dmin=88.7 km, Rmss=0 sec, Gp= 18°,
M-type=centroid moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9
  • Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Event IDus2010atbj
  • Did you feel it? Report shaking and damage at your location. You can also view a map displaying accumulated data from your report and others.

Earthquake Summary

Small globe showing earthquakeSmall map showing earthquake

Earthquake Summary Poster

Felt Reports

Two people seriously injured, six bridges and many buildings damaged in the Christchurch area. About 30 km of right-lateral surface faulting with a maximum offset of more than 5 m was observed southeast of Darfield. Liquefaction caused damage at Bexley, Kaiapoi and in parts of Christchurch. Landslides were observed along the Rakaia River and the Port Hills area. Maximum intensity IX in the Christchurch-Greendale area and felt (VI) in much of Canterbury. Felt throughout New Zealand. Detailed information about this earthquake is available on the New Zealand GeoNet website.

Tectonic Summary

The September 3, 2010 South Island, New Zealand earthquake occurred as a result of strike-slip faulting within the crust of the Pacific plate, near the eastern foothills of the Southern Alps at the western edge of the Canterbury Plains. The earthquake struck approximately 50 km to the west-northwest of Christchurch, the largest population center in the region, and about 80-90 km to the south and east of the current expression of the Australia:Pacific plate boundary through the island (the Alpine and Hope Faults). The earthquake, though removed from the plate boundary itself, likely reflects right-lateral motion on one of a number of regional faults related to the overall relative motion of these plates and may be related to the overall southern propagation of the Marlborough fault system in recent geologic time.

The September 3, 2010 earthquake occurred approximately 50 km to the southeast of a M7.1, surface-rupturing event in Authur's Pass, on March 9th, 1929, which caused damage but injured no one. More recently, two earthquakes of M6.7 and M5.9 occurred in June 1994 approximately 40 km to the northwest of the 2010 event, but did not cause any known fatalities or significant damage.

Earthquake Information for New Zealand

Eastern Margin of the Australia Plate: Seismicity of the Earth 1900-2007, PDF