It's as if the September 2010 earthquake was Mother Nature's "test run"... on that occasion, it was the middle of the night, streets and businesses were empty, there was a lot of property damage but very few injuries.
This afternoon, 12.51pm lunchtime, the CBD full of workers and shoppers, Christchurch was slammed by a 6.3 quake - the epicentre, the sleepy quaint town of Lyttleton.
Although it was a little smaller than September's seismologically, its impact was far greater. It was shallower and thus the effect was so much more intense. Buildings that were already weakened structurally by the September biggie and the subsequent endless aftershocks, have collapsed. People have been killed - at time of writing, the death toll was 65 and expected to rise - many more have been injured, at least 100 are still trapped in the wreckage (latest update 8am 06/3: 166 dead, 200+ missing. Update: final death toll = 182).
And the very heart
of Christchurch - its religious soul, the big Anglican cathedral in Cathedral Square, has sustained serious damage, losing half its 63m spire and half of the facade along one side.
This damage to such an iconic structure will come to symbolise the impact of today's quake, and perhaps also symbolise the resilience of Cantabrians and New Zealand as a whole.
I'll not attempt to summarise the quake's effect here: its such a daunting task and there're many news sources on-line doing their job in this regard.
New Zealand's heart is bleeding tonight...