The earthquake that rocked New Zealand on Monday has been officially upgraded from magnitude 7.5 to 7.8. Geonet, the country’s geological monitor, said it was
one of the most complex earthquakes ever recorded on land.
The revised magnitude means the mainshock was in fact nearly twice as big (1.995 times) and 2.818 times stronger, in terms of energy release, than had been thought, and could lead to stronger aftershocks for a longer duration than expected.
The evacuation of the South Island coastal town of Kaikoura, without road access since the quake, is almost complete, with nearly 400 people transferred to the navy vessel HMNZS Canterbury, which will leave for Lyttelton, near Christchurch, on Wednesday evening.
The US department of defence has deployed the USS Sampson – the first US warship to visit New Zealand for 30 years – to aid the relief effort, and Australia is also sending assistance vessels.
But fears are mounting for wildlife in the most affected regions. Conservationists said half of the largest colony of the critically endangered Hutton Shearwater sea bird had been destroyed. The department of conservation said seals were likely to have been killed in a landslide that wiped out breeding grounds at Ohau Point, Kaikoura.
Aerial pictures have shown changes in the eastern coastline of the South Island, apparently caused by the raising of the seabed as a result of the movement of the Hundalee fault:
Few exclusive pictures for aalmiakhbar