The Mw = 6.3 earthquake of February 22 was the strongest seismic event in a series of damaging aftershocks in and around Christchurch after the Darfield earthquake on 4 September 2010. The source of the Darfield earthquake was in a sparsely populated area and thus it caused no loss of life. Serious damage was mainly due to extensive liquefaction. By contrast, the Christchurch earthquake was generated on a fault in close proximity to the city, resulting in a death toll of 181 people.

The Canterbury Plains are covered with river gravels that hide any evidence of past fault activity...

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