Saturday, September 4, 2010

Major Earthquake

As some of you may be aware Christchurch was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake early this morning. It was centred only 30 km from the city and amazingly there has been no loss of life reported, although there is major damage throughout the city.It was one of the most powerful quakes to strike NZ in the past century and given its proximity to one of our largest cities it is truly amazing that no one has been killed! It was probably lucky that it struck at 4:35 am, a few hours earlier when the pubs were full, or earlier on the day when people were at work and there could have been major loss of life.

My wife and I are both from Christchurch and still have many friends and family in the city, but fortunately most of them have come though it unscathed. We live about 160km further south and the earthquake was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. Our house felt like someone picked it up and shook it violently, there were a series of short sharp violent jolts that lasted the best part of a minute. We both jumped out of bed, grabbed the kids, and stood between the doorways which themselves were moving backwards and forwards at a very unsettling angles. Once the shaking had subsided the kids jumped into our bed for an hour or so before going back to their own rooms, while Julie and I didn’t get any more sleep but listened to the reports staring to flood in on the radio.

We have been fortunate that there is little or no damage in our town and most of the many aftershocks are centred round Christchurch and north of the new fault line . Even so it has been a damn scary experience for all those involved but is a credit to the infrastructure and building standards that more damage wasn’t sustained given its closeness to Christchurch.

However just to add more concern to an already massive disaster, there are gale force winds forecast for tomorrow which could cause more damage to unstable buildings, and rain in the forecast too. So Christchurch isn’t out of the woods yet.



  1. Craig,

    I'm glad you and the family and friends are okay. Having gone through my fair share of earthquakes living in California, I know what a terrifying experience they can be.


  2. I've lived in California and Japan- where we had several tsunami warnings following quakes but never been in anything like this one. Most the the impact seems to be north, we have had few aftershocks unlike those CHCH who have been experiencing many strong after shocks. I, like many people, am amazed that they have been no deaths form this, a few hours either side could have been catastrophic loss of life.

    It is now lunchtime on Sunday and we are just starting to experience blustery winds of 40-60km/hr and expected to get stronger this afternoon, my friends in CHCH tell me the winds were starting earlier this morning. The winds are our famous Nor wester which is a precursor to cold fronts moving in from the Southern Ocean/ Antarctica which means tomorrow will probably be cold and rainy (as predicted)
    so those in CHCH are definitely in for an uncomfortable few days