At 4.35 AM on Saturday the 4th September 2010 an unknown fault near Darfield shook violently. It measured 7.1 on the Richtor scale and was at a depth of 10km. The fault was 40km west of Christchurch in a mostly rural area near Darfield. The violence that emanated from the epicentre was clearly evident in the landscape around the epicentre. It buckled railway lines, unaligned road centre lines, moved trees and opened up the earth.
There was widespread damage to infrastructure and properties, with power outages to more than half of the city. Liquefaction began bubbling up, particularly in Avonside, Bexley, Burwood, New Brighton and Dallington. Liquefaction is where some soil behaves like a liquid during an earthquake and forces itself to the surface as liquid silt. In spite of the damage, we counted ourselves lucky that no one died.
Buildings that were assessed as unsalvageable were demolished, many of which were brick buildings. This included many suburban shops that were older brick buildings as well as central central city properties.