Posts Tagged ‘Earthquake’

Thousands plan to leave Christchurch – poll

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

– Even though the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and atomic plant events have grabbed the world’s attention, the things that have been going on down here in New Zealand to Christchurch are still huge to this nation and people.

– dennis

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More than half of the voters in a Stuff-Press online poll say they are planning on leaving Christchurch – or would if they weren’t tied to the city by their properties or jobs.

Forty thousand people voted on the unscientific poll and 64 per cent said they wanted to leave the city or didn’t know what to do.

Christchurch has been shaken by three severe quakes since September and many people have packed up and left.

Twenty-one per cent of the people who responded to the poll said they planned to leave the city and 26 per cent said they would if it was not for their properties or jobs.

Another 3.5 per cent said they were prepared to walk away from their houses.

The poll asked whether people were planning to leave Christchurch, if they would if it wasn’t for their properties or jobs, whether they plan to stay in the city and if they are unsure of what to do.

Thirty-six per cent said they did not want to leave and just over 13 per cent said they did not know what to do.

Clinical psychologist Corina Grennell said people should leave if they felt it was their best option, but she questioned whether there was anywhere in the world that was safe.

Her house was on a tilt and a large crack ran underneath it. The Grennell family was determined to stay, but wanted to move to another suburb.

Pam and James Kelly moved to New Zealand six years ago to give their family a better life, but the quakes had taken their toll on the family of four, forcing them to return to Scotland.

The Kellys’ story mirrors thousands throughout the city, where people have decided enough is enough, packed up their belongings and left for more stable ground.

May recorded the largest exodus to Australia in one month since 1979 and that was partly attributed to Christchurch residents fleeing the city after the February earthquake.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said he was not worried about an exodus.

“The vast majority of people in this city love it,” he said.

“We know we will get through this stage. We will rebuild our communities. Some may not be in the same places though.”

– to the original…

Christchurch – Earthquake follow-up

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

It’s September 23rd here and the big earthquake was on September 4th (7.1).   We’ve had another big aftershock at 6;30 this morning.  4.5 magnitude.   They go on and on….

See the Christchurch Earthquake and all the aftershocks

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

– See a visual representation of the initial quake and all the ones that have followed it.

Click –> Here

Shake the strongest recorded in NZ

Monday, September 6th, 2010


The fault that caused the 7.1 earthquake has been dormant for at least 16,000 years – and produced the strongest ground-shaking recorded in a New Zealand quake, GNS Science says.

Natural hazards manager Kelvin Berryman said the highest ground-shaking measurement of 1.25 times the strength of gravity was recorded at Greendale, near the epicentre.

The quake produced a 22km-long surface rupture and up to four metres of horizontal displacement in alluvial terraces deposited about 16,000 years ago at the end of the last glaciation.

When that period ended, rivers brought large amounts of gravel from the high country and distributed it throughout Canterbury, many metres thick in some places.

“Before Saturday, there was nothing in the landscape that would have suggested there was an active fault beneath the Darfield and Rolleston areas,” Dr Berryman said.

“Geologists have no information on when the fault last ruptured, as it was unknown until last weekend. All we can say at this stage is that this newly revealed fault has not ruptured since the gravels were deposited about 16,000 years ago.

– More…

Earthquake postscripts 2

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Aftershocks continuing three days after the ‘main event’.   Had two 5.2 events overnight.   I just laid in bed and felt the building moving around me.   It makes a lot of noise as it shifts and then resettles.   I’m not really worried at this point.  The building has proven itself sound and six floors up, there’s no place to run anyway.

Colombo St. looking towards Cathedral Square

The army has turned out to help the police control access while the safety of hundreds of buildings are checked.   Other buildings are actively being torn down as quickly as possible to protect people.

Green army helicopters can be seen flying over the city.   It all seems quite surreal.   Everyone I’ve talked to seems to feel that time has been subtly altered somehow and that we’re in a bit of an alternate universe of something.

The news reports always show the heavily damaged areas but there are large areas that escaped without damage.   But, it is a sobering figure that of all the homes in Christchurch, a full one-third are damaged.

News story is here.

Earthquake postscripts

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Still getting aftershocks in the 4 to 5 range here.   The NZ Army has been called in to help secure access to the central business district (CBD) as the police are stretched so tight.   The building inspectors are working their way through all the buildings in the CBD flagging each as Green (OK), Yellow (Use Caution) and Red (no way!).   Hopefully, in a few days the situation for all buildings will be known.

I’m working at home today which I rather like.  Working for a seriously high-tech company is a pleasure.   We’ve all got VPN access to the systems at work and sitting here at my desk at home is just like sitting there, downtown.

The office was quite a mess though.  Bookshelves tossed, plants toppled and general chaos.   We had two engineers there on US coverage when the quake hit Saturday morning.   I can’t even imagine what that would have been like up on the 10th floor.

7.1 Earthquake – Christchurch, New Zealand – 04 Sept 2010

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

At 4:35 AM yesterday, I was shaken from my bed by a huge earthquake.    The biggest one here in New Zealand since the quake in 1931 destroyed much of Napier on the North island.

I jumped out of bed and stood in the doorway to the bedroom and just hung on.   The apartment I live in is six floors up so there was no question of running outside.

The first shock was only a precursor to what followed and as I stood in the doorway, it just seemed to get worse.   I remember thinking that if it got bad enough, the building would go down and I’d be almost certainly be killed.   But, there was nothing to do but hang on and see what would happen next.

Eventually, it slowed down.   The building was, as you can imagine, swaying and creaking and making a lot of noise.   And there were the sounds of things falling and breaking everywhere.  The building continued to move and settle for quite awhile afterwards.

While the quake was in progress and I was in the doorway, I had a clear view out the bedroom window to the west and I could see great flashes of light illuminate the sky several times during the quake.   At the time, I assumed they must be electrical transformers exploding.   The lights flickered on and off and I heard my computer turn itself back on in the middle of the quake.

When it finally stopped, the lights were still on which surprised me.

But what surprised me more was when I turned around and walked into the living room.

Just after the quake - my living room.

I don’t know what I expected after an earthquake that big, but I remember being very surprised that both the bookcases and the TV table and TV were all down on the floor and my books were everywhere.

As you might think, I just stumbled about and looked at everything for several minutes and then I remembered that I should probably go outside.   I put on my pants and got my keys, shirt, coat (2C or 35F outside) and shoes and went downstairs to the parking lot where most of the occupants had gathered.

Some of the long-term people were saying that when these buildings were built 10 years ago, they’d really over-engineered them for earthquakes and that tonight that had all paid off.   I couldn’t have agreed more.

I walked around the complex (as did the building manager and several others, I’m sure) and listened for water from broken pipes and checked for cracks, broken windows (none) and fallen masonry (only a small amount).

I’m writing this on Sunday evening nearly 36 hours later and we are still having aftershocks you can clearly feel.

When the sun came up Saturday morning, I went out for a walk in the neighborhood to see the damage.

You can find photos of Christchurch after the quake on-line here.

And here.

I have to say that building codes are wonderful things.   Only three people were injured badly here and no one died.   Contrast that with quakes in the third world such as the recent one in Haiti.

Some areas survived with very little damage and others were badly trashed as you’ll see in the photos.   Rail lines broken, bridges damaged, ground lifted or fallen, roads buckled, water mains broken and electricity off to much of the city.

About the only thing that turned out nice is that Saturday was a beautiful and unseasonably warm day.

It felt a bit like some sort of strange party as everyone was out walking and looking at the damage.   Cafes and coffee shops, if they were open, were jammed.

My place is put back into order.   The rest of the city will take months and many millions of dollars.   The building where I work seems to be intact but I’ve been told that we’ll be working from home for a few days and that should be different and interesting.

The good news?   There probably won’t be another event like this here in my lifetime now that the fault has released some of its energy.