IMPORTANT LINK IF YOU NEED TO LOCATE SOMEONE IN AND AROUND CHRISTCHURCH:
Other links for the curious:
Here are some interesting links about earthquakes, including a cool map of the earthquakes that have happened in and around Christchurch, New Zealand, even before today's deadly 6.3 mag quake. This map in interesting to watch. Check it out! Make sure you check the box to view the fault that is causing all this shaking. Before the Sept 2010 main quake, this fault was unknown!
Here is a good article in the LA Times that compares LA's earthquake experiences and that of Christchurch. It explains the passive building codes, and the nearness of the epicenter of the the quake in Christchurch as factors on why it was so deadly. I suggest reading it.
Also here is an App called Tectonic that lets you see recent earthquakes throughout the world with a 3D interactive globe display. It has many options and helps you understand and visualize how quakes happen along tectonic plate boundries.
These tools are great to use in the classroom or during homework sessions. It also is helpful for those wanting to monitor earthquakes in a new way.
Looking at the Christchurch earthquake footage on CNN, I am now thinking about what someone should do during an earthquake. I'm sure there will debate among public safety and emergency experts on whether one should run outside their building or should duck and over under heavy strong furniture. In the footage, you see people running and stumbling over rubble, as yet more debris falls from overhead. It's very eye opening footage.