Aftershocks continue in Christchurch

Jan. 2, 2012 at 4:53 PM

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Several earthquake aftershocks measuring up to 5.5-magnitude rattled Christchurch, New Zealand, Monday.

Power was cut to 10,000 homes for several hours after 5.5-, 5.1- and 4.8-magnitude aftershocks and other temblors shook the city, Sky News reported.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker called for an urgent meeting with seismologists from the New Zealand research institute GNS Science after residents voiced concern about the aftershocks.

"Today I have fielded a lot of questions on seismic issues. Everywhere I go that's what people are talking about," Parker said."I think it's important that we hear from the scientists themselves on what's happening and what's the likelihood of further events."

Some Christchurch residents were worried about the possibility of a tsunami because some of the quakes Monday were centered offshore, the Fairfax (New Zealand) News reported.

"I'd like to reassure them that this is highly unlikely. The advice we have received from GNS is that the faults offshore are short in length and not likely to generate a significant tsunami," Parker said. "The sea inundation to land is low risk, probably not more than a storm surge."

There were no immediate reports of further property damage or soil liquefaction from the quakes.

The region has been hit by devastating quakes in the past year, including one in February that killed 181 people.

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