New Zealand's biggest earthquakes

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A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand South Island city of Christchurch on Tuesday, causing scores of people dead and mass destruction of building.

The following are the biggest earthquakes in New Zealand history:

-- 8.2 on the Richter scale, Wairarapa, Jan. 23, 1855 -- The most severe earthquake in New Zealand since systematic European colonization began in 1840.

-- 7.8, Fiordland, July 16, 2009 -- Only 12 km deep and on the coastline at Milford near Dusky Sound: the largest earthquake since the 1931 Napier earthquake.

-- 7.8, Hawkes Bay, Feb. 3, 1931 -- Until Feb. 22, the Hawkes Bay earthquake caused the largest loss of life, at least 256, and most extensive damage of any recorded NZ quake.

-- 7.8, Murchison, June 17, 1929 -- The massive rumbling of the 1929 Buller earthquake was heard as far away as New Plymouth.

-- 7.8, Marlborough, Oct. 16, 1848 -- This was the largest in a cluster of earthquakes that hit central NZ that year.

-- 7.1, Christchurch, Sept. 4, 2010 -- causing destruction of many buildings but no death.

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