The Leap Year Earthquake and our on-going science response

This morning was another rude reminder that the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence is still on-going in Christchurch. This earthquake was in a different part of Christchurch than the Valentine’s Day earthquake and was strongly felt by several thousand residents who filled in Felt Reports.

These earthquakes can be demoralising and unsettling for some people. You are perfectly normal if you find these are events unsettling. The All Right? website is a great resource where you can talk about any anxieties or concerns that you have regarding the earthquakes. 

Now, to the science…

About the Leap Year Earthquake

The earthquake woke Christchurch residents up at 3:32 a.m. this morning. Even though it was “only” a M4.3, it was very shallow at five kilometres deep, and directly under the Christchurch suburb of Cashmere. This would have made it particularly strong for those nearby. We’ve taken a close look at the Peak Ground Acceleration (horizontal) and have compared it to the Valentine’s Day earthquake here:

A PGA of 0.2 is similar to what would have been felt in Wellington during the Cook Strait Earthquake. Note: the lines on this map are indicative of ground shaking. This is not an exact replication of all areas that would have felt the earthquake.

As the map illustrates, this earthquake would have felt just as strong as the Valentine’s Earthquake for those west and south of Cathedral Square. For those in Eastern and Northern Christchurch the Valentine’s Day quake would have been much more intense. 

So what have we been doing since the Valentine’s Day Earthquake?

Well, since you asked…quite a lot! Since the Valentine’s Earthquake, our scientists have been active in Christchurch. 

Here is a video (check out that drone action!) on the science response:


Also check out our updated forecast page. There is a new feature at the bottom of the page which is table that compares all the PGAs, magnitudes, locations, depths etc…for the 14 M5.5 and above earthquakes since the Darfield earthquake in 2010.


    Link to this page