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Earthquakes

Earthquakes are caused by the continual movement of huge tectonic plates that make up the surface of the earth. The landmass of New Zealand sits astride two of these plates – the Australian Plate and the Pacific Plate. Together these plates have shaped New Zealand’s past and will continue to shape its future.

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Alpine fault history BOP earthquake 1987 Edgecumbe rail damage Edgecumbe earth rupture. Copyright: GNS
Alpine fault history
BOP earthquake 1987
Edgecumbe train tracks
Edgecumbe earth rupture (GNS)


Edgecumbe earth rupture closeup. Copyright: GNS Diagram of large NZ eathquakes Gisborne 2007-damage from collapsed facade Gisborne 2007 Rick Barker and Mayor Meng Foon survey damage
Edgecumbe close up (GNS)
Large NZ earthquakes (GNS)
Gisborne 2007-damage from collapsed facade
Gisborne 2007 Rick Barker and Mayor Meng Foon survey damage



Gisborne 2007- facade damage Gisborne 2007- facade damage
Gisborne 2007- civic clock stopped at time of earthquake
Gisborne 2007- facade damage
Gisborne 2007 - facade damage
Gisborne 2007- civic clock stopped at time of earthquake


2010 Canterbury earthquake

Aerial view of the surface rupture
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Earth rupture in a local park
Damage to roading
Damage to roading

Many older brick buildings were damaged
Underground petrol tanks 'floated' to the surface
Earthquake shock wave preserved in rail tracks
A pedestrian footbridge twisted by the quake


Burst underground water pipes caused flooding
Several older buildings in the Christchurch CBD collapsed
Repairing one of the numerous chimneys damaged


2011 Christchurch earthquake

Structural supports in place at the Cathedral
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Damage to the Cathedral bell tower
Many heritage buildings were damaged
Shattered plate glass

Canterbury Television (CTV) site
Ongoing search at the CTV site
Cafe interior
Ongoing inpsection inside the Red cordon zone

A familiar site throughout the city - clearing silt
Liquifaction causing silt and water contamination
Many brick veneer buildings suffered damage
Hotel Grand Chancellor suffered serious damage

Central city street within the cordon
Many vehicles were crushed by debris
The central city faces a huge cleanup