Christchurch, New Zealand has suffered another earthquake with a magnitude of 4.9 on the Richter Scale. At least 20 buildings are damaged. Electricity was lost, but has been restored to most of the city. Some aftershocks have been as strong as the original quake. On this day the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race began first with blue skies, turning dark and dangerous. The Wild Thing yacht collided with a media boat, but is holding the lead this minute. See videos of the earthquake and the magnificent yachts in the race below.
The earthquake epicenter was nine miles under the earth’s surface. The Christchurch downtown area is cordoned off, but other roadblocks have been lifted. The city suffered a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in September 2010, which weakened many buildings. Those buildings are of concern in today’s quake.
No fatalities have been reported, but damage to glass and masonry on many businesses has caused disruption to shoppers – the 4.9 magnitude quake hit during the day, forcing evacuations, and cutting power to many businesses. The aftershock hit at around 10:30am local time.
December 26th is a national public holiday in New Zealand and Australia, known as “Boxing Day,” when traditionally, employers “boxed gifts” for employees.t Generally considered the first day of after-Christmas sales, it is also the day the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race begins.
The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race continues with very dicey weather conditions:
The last time the fleet struck such an angry sea and surging swell on the first night was in 2004. From the original 116 starters, just 59 made it all the way across Bass Strait and to Constitution Dock; the smaller boats, had to contend with 56 hours of an unrelenting pounding.
The race is some 630 nautical miles long. At this time Wild Thing is reportedly the leader, even after colliding with a media boat early-on).
Wild Thing collision photo courtesy of Phil Hillyard and The Daily Telegraph.
Christchurch residents say when the earthquake hit, it sounded like a bomb going off. In the video below you’ll hear that the quakes come in jolts rather than a rolling motion. Earthquake damage photo courtesy of NZHerald.
Christchurch, New Zealand Earthquake Dec. 26, 2010 (video)
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race December 26, 2010 (video)