Ann Arbor, December 22, 2011 - Three strong earthquakes of more than magnitude 5 hit Christchurch, New Zealand today, disrupting the power and telecommunications networks in the area and damaging roads and structures because of liquefaction of the soil. Damage and injury estimates are incomplete as of this writing.
According to USGS, three earthquake hits christchurch today , 5.8 at 01:58:36 PM, 5.3 at 02:06:25 PM and 5.8 at 03:18:02 PM #eqnz
Power grid operator Orion New Zealand is providing network updates via Twitter on the status of the electrical grid during the aftermath of the quake; follow @OrionNZ for details. The updates via Twitter are happening in addition to their normal reporting on their web site:
Due to the extent of outages on the Orion network at present, we are unable to update this page. We will resume usual updates as soon as possible. In the interim, please see our home page for general updates about power supply following the December aftershocks.
5:20pm: We are unable to update the outages page at oriongroup.co.nz at present, as we are still scoping #eqnz worksTelecom New Zealand issued this update, also via Twitter
The NZ Raw weblog has photos and video of the damage, which includes liquefaction of the soil.
(A geologist) was keen to use the photos in a paper he was writing and said (and I more-or-less quote) “I’ve been to substantial earthquakes all over the world for the past 30 years and I haven’t seen liquefaction anywhere near as bad as it is in Christchurch. You guys are pretty interesting right now!”
The hash tag in common use for the event is #eqnz, and usage of that tag is nearly universal.