Shake shuts city zone

00:10, May 26 2012

The central Christchurch red zone has reopened after yesterday's magnitude 5.2 quake forced its closure. 

The magnitude-5.2 quake yesterday at 2.44pm forced the closure of the cordoned red zone and workers were sent home as a precaution.

A Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) spokeswoman said there had been no "significant damage" but some loose bricks and tiles had fallen off Christ Church Cathedral.

"Nothing was made worse than it already was."

The workers were told to go home as a "precautionary measure", she said.

"It was already 3pm and we thought it would be best, since it was a [magnitude] 5, to send everyone home and make sure they felt safe."

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Last night Cera said buildings were being assessed and as long as there were no more significant aftershocks, the red zone would open at 7am.

Geonet Rapid recorded the quake at a depth of 10 kilometres. It was located 20km east of Christchurch, off south New Brighton.

It described the intensity of the quake as "damaging".

The quake was felt strongly across Christchurch, with Twitter users commenting on shoppers running out of the Eastgate Shopping Centre.

The Lyttelton Library was evacuated.

It has been months since Christchurch had a quake over magnitude 5.0.

Yesterday's shake was the 41st quake of magnitude 5.0 or above since September 4, 2010. GNS had predicted there was a 76 per cent chance of a quake of this magnitude during the year.

The Christchurch City Council said there had been no reports of damage from the tremor.

A St John spokesman said there were no reports of injuries and no increase in emergency calls after the quake.

Power supplies to the city were also unaffected.

The Press