Aftershocks 3 months later
Christchurch, New Zealand – A series of strong aftershocks from a September earthquake has rattled New Zealand on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
The most powerful tremour was 4.9 magnitude and its impact was magnified by its proximity to the city centre.
Buildings were damaged, power supplies temporarily cut and a large shopping centre was evacuated.
The city of 370 000 people was hit by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake three months ago, causing widespread destruction. Two people were seriously injured in that quake, and older buildings including some landmarks were destroyed.
Scientists said the tremours which continue to shake the area were related to the September quake and warned they could continue for some time.
On Saturday, a 7.3 magnitude quake struck under the sea off Vanuatu, but there were no reports of damage or injuries.
Correspondents said it was a remarkable stroke of luck that no-one was hurt in the tremour.
It struck at 1 030 within 5km (three miles) of Christchurch at a depth of 12km, said GNS Science monitoring agency.
Shop fronts were shattered and in some places masonry could be seen littering the streets.
Large parts of the central business district were cordoned off as police assessed damage to buildings. (BBC)