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Christchurch until September 2010 had no known faultline near the city. Apart from the major Alpine fault line the majority of people are of course well aware of
Sometimes, the cracking can be a new fracture, a flat plane of splitting happening for the first time, but mostly, and always in large quakes, the ground gives along already existing fault lines. A split slides a bit further to release its energy
A fault line about 5km long can generate only a magnitude-6 disturbance, a half-kilometre crack can produce only a 5, and a fissure of a few hundred metres will only ever give a 4.
Berryman says, the Port Hills and Canterbury Plains will be riddled with fault lines like this
The landscape may be peppered with subterranean fault lines, but there is a limit to how many can be of any real size. And from studying the bigger ones, we can make predictions of some confidence about what a city like Christchurch needs to be prepared for
August 31 1870, "Lake Ellesmere" earthquake The 1870 earthquake, on August 31 at 6:53 pm (local time) was more widely felt than the 1869 earthquake, with the highest intensities around Christchurch, at locations on Banks Peninsula and South Canterbury, but felt at least as far south as Dunedin, on the West Coast and North Canterbury. In Christchurch city, there was damage to household and shop contents as well as isolated chimney damage, e.g. one or two chimneys fell in Avonside, one in Chester Street and another in Papanui Road. The upper parts of several chimneys were rotated near the railway station. There was also isolated minor structural damage. At St John’s church in Latimer Square the stone cross fell, causing damage to several roof slates, and some old cracks opened in the stonework. Old cracks in the Town Hall also moved. The damage is consistent with MM 6 at most. Several chimneys, as well as household goods, were damaged at Lyttelton, about Banks Peninsula and in South Canterbury as far south as Timaru, the intensity not exceeding MM 6, except possibly at Temuka, and the eastern side of Lyttelton Harbour. The spatial distribution of intensities indicates an earthquake at greater depth than the 1869 earthquake. This is consistent with the reported longer duration of strong shaking, the occurrence of only one or two slight aftershocks and observations of the two shocks separated by a short interval that are almost certainly P and S waves.
Again you are not reading the information in front of you..
Sure the Greendale Fault and the Lyttelton (or it may be called the Port Hills Fault yet) were not known before, but to say that the Alpine Fault was the only cause of quake damage to ChCh before, is incorrect.
He said it is absolutely devastating what is happening there,” said Manzullo spokesman Rich Carter. “He said it is kind of like their 9/11, their tragedy."
Certainly though the largest known fault considered to be a major threat to Christchurch as it is to most of the country is the fault between the Indo-Australian and Pacific plates running as it does along the Alps at its closest distance to ChCh