Explore as a

Share our content

Information Paper | The Darfield Earthquake

2010: An information paper from the Royal Society of New Zealand looking at knowledge developed about earthquakes

In January this year, a Magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, leading to a calamity that killed over 200,000 people. In September, a Magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck near Christchurch, in which no-one was killed. In part, this outcome was down to luck.

The timing of the Darfield earthquake (at 4.35 am on a Saturday morning) meant that masonry fell into empty streets. Despite this, it is remarkable to have a Magnitude 7 earthquake near a city without any fatalities.

Modern understanding of seismic risks, the corresponding construction standards and the resulting performance of buildings in such an earthquake are not a matter of luck. In this paper, the Royal Society of New Zealand explores how seismologists and earthquake engineers have developed the critical knowledge and understanding of earthquakes, which has been implemented into the building practices that saved lives in Canterbury.

Read the Information Paper here

Listen to the Science Media Centre Briefing