The threat of landslides has emerged near the epicentre of Tuesday’s earthquake, potentially threatening Lyttelton, Rapaki and Sumner.
Geologists will be placing monitoring stakes in the hills to measure whether landslides were approaching populated areas.
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Dr Mark Quigley, a geology lecturer at the University of Canterbury, said: “These are landslides that have the potential to carry houses down with them, or have run-outs into populated areas.
“There have been rocks the size of cars which have come down, and some of them have damaged houses – one has gone right through a house.
“There are still numerous boulders which have the potential to come down.”