Saturday 4 September 2010

7.1 quake hits Christchurch

A massive 7.1 earthquake awoke the residents of Christchurch, New Zealand just over three hours ago at 4.35am this morning.

For those that know this blogger, it's where I was born and lived until I was 20-ish.

There was extensive damage around the town, including power and sewer lines. Part of and that part of Avonside Drive along the River Avon, was undriveable.

It was originally reported as 7.4, but downgraded (and the Aussie in the Geo office was told to go home).

"It was terrible, was awful, dreadful," my 86-year-old mother Doreen, told me on the phone a few minutes ago from her New Brighton home, near the coast of Christchurch.

"It woke me up. I don't think I've ever felt one like this, and hope I never do again. The whole place shoke. Everyone was up around the neighbourhood around 4:30 in the morning."

"I was terrified. It was frightening. It went on for ages and the noise was awful," mother told me.

The quake was 30k West of Christchurch and had a depth of 33km. Houses around the beachside community of Kairaki Beach, Kaiapoi, has had substantial damage to houses.

There are still many aftershocks. the latest at 8:15 am with a 4.7 magnitude, 9 km depth; one at 7:56 am, 5.2; and 7:52 am, 4.0.

Christchurch last had an earthquake this big on March 9 1929, at Arthur's Pass, and on September 1 1888, in North Canterbury, however 7.1 rates as one of the biggest the country has experienced. An 8.2 was recorded in Wairarapa, north of Wellington in 1855.

Christchurch is close to the Alpine and Hope Faults. This morning's quake was felt across the South Island and as far north as Wellington and Palmerston North.

The earthquake was New Zealand's most destructive since 1931, when 256 people were killed in Napier.

New Zealand is still considered geologically young and many minor earthquake are experienced regularly. There are a number of active volcanos throughout the North Island.

- Christchurch earthquake pix


Jude Johnston said...

Scarey stuff. When Pete was based at Ohakea Air Base and we lived in Bulls (yep a real place and "the only place in NZ where you can get milk from Bulls"), we used to get frequent shakes. It always sounded like a freight train was coming through the front door and then either the violent shaking or the roller coaster ride. A couple of times we had the cupboards emptied on to the floor and the kids were fascinated by their breakfast galloping across the table and on to the floor.

exkiwi girl said...

Mike , has the Queen visited NZ lately? I remember an old Maori saying that every time she visited there was a disaster -Tangiwai was one. and now I see that a plane has gone down near a South Island glacier killing nine ....spooky.I hope your mother is OK in CHCH -the scary thing about earthquakes is you are left waiting for the next big one.

Alison Alloway said...

Hope your Mum and family are alright Mike and that the family home is intact. It would have been a terrifying experience.

Clifton Ratbags Rule said...

Sadly now like all third world countries NZ will be expecting the rest of us to pony up for repairing this shithole of a country. The lefties and greenies have left the country virtually bankrupt and unable to cope with a simple little earthquake.

I'm hopeful to see the Pakistani military assistance to the residents of Christchurch (shit, even naming the place after a god didn't help these poor buggers out).

Anstab said...

Clifton Ratbag you really do need some help, or better still an education. Your unsubstantiated right wing vitriol can only bring you nothing but sadness, depression and an ulcer.

Thaddeus said...

Scurry off somewhere to a dark hole and gnaw on a bone, Clifton Ratbags.

Kiwicuz said...

It was very frightening indeed, the buildings shaking. The 10 level apartment block I'm in just started swaying and continued with the movement for a time following the quake.
Mike, good to chat to you last night, thanks for your concern. We are currently staying with a friend, as our place has not been checked for damage, and due to lack of sewage and water safety.
What is great is the sense of community which this encouraged.
As for Clifton ratbags - mmm....get some empathy counselling.

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

Mmmm Clifton Ratbags - for them I would suggest a one-way ticket to Bangladesh, with $100 in the pocket. See how you fare there in the next cyclone/flood/river surge/earthquake. The milk of human kindness obviously does not runneth over in YOUR household.

My guess is the Kiwis will approach this as they always seem to - quietly, competently, & thoroughly. NZ is a nation of Quiet Achievers. I like them all a lot.

Yes, Mike, I hope all your family & friends are OK.

And for exkiwigirl - interesting comment. Have any of the royals lobbed in Aotearoa recently? Wasn't Prince William over this side of the planet a few months ago?

Sammy Jaye said...

Dear Clifton idiot...

I recall the Kiwis sent across hundreds of fire-fighters to help out with the Victorian bushfires...

We are both supportive neighbours...

If there's a disaster at you place... would you welcome some support from the neighbours, the State, the Council.. the health service?