View Full Version : My NZ hometown hit by 7.1 earthquake

09-04-2010, 10:45 PM
I live in Japan but am from NZ. My family alll live in the city p Christchurch on the east coast of the South Island. Yesterday morning a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck.

Happily no-one was killed and only a couple have been seriously injured. The damage is not that dramatic but it's going to take a lot of time and money to clean up and repair all the busted up pipes, lines, roofs, etc.

The brunt was borne by the older brick buildings . The low level, spread out nature of NZ cities, especially Christchurch, helped minimise the effects of the destruction - no towers crashing down or anything. Instead though, the residents are faced with the unhappy and time-consuming task of getting everything going again. Perhaps 20% of homes are uninhabitable due to the force and length of the quake.

Everyone I know seems fine and still just surprised by what happened. All in all, a very understated New Zealand-style natural disaster.

09-04-2010, 11:16 PM
Glad everyone's ok. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif Keep us updated on your friends and loved ones.

09-05-2010, 02:45 AM
My sister lives in Whakatane, and they could feel the shocks even up there, very scary.

09-05-2010, 09:24 AM
A 7.1 is no joke.
Glad to hear no one was killed.
I hope that your family is doing OK.

09-05-2010, 10:02 AM
Wow, a 7.1 is a big quake. Both Wellington and CC sit virtually on top of a plate convergence that snakes through that part of the Pacific. Hope everything turns out OK.

Any news on how the cathedral held up?

Still waiting for our turn here in San Francisco... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/shady.gif

09-07-2010, 08:00 AM
Thanks for the kind posts, fellas. This forum is no longer about Il2, is it?
Anyway, my family and friends have escaped relatively unscathed, especially given the magnitude of the quake. Even the aftershocks are registering at 5.4 so people are fairly on edge still. Things sound like they were really well organised though - the difference between an earthquake in a developed country and a developing one, I guess - good building codes, effective planning and execution of disaster relief strategies. It's a huge help that the place is sparsely populated of course, that's what makes a huge difference.

Mercenario - how come your sister's in Whakatane? You an NZer, too?

For outsiders, you might enjoy the Maori pronunciation of "Wh", which is /f/, so that town is pronounced...

09-07-2010, 08:01 AM
Treetop - the Cathedral was strengthened against earthquakes, as were most older buildings, especially public ones. It was the private ones that fared badly though. Anything brick just toppled.

09-07-2010, 12:49 PM
Anything over 7 is no joke and the fact that nobody died (except one or two people who had heart attacks I think) is amazing. I expect that if a quake that big hit here in the San Francisco area there would be some fatalities but you never know, quakes can be unpredictable in terms of damage. The '89 one in SF was I think 6.9 and something like 90 people died over a very large area.

Sounds like repairing everything will be a major pain in the butt but so it goes.

09-07-2010, 07:18 PM
yeah, and there was that double decker free way collapse which i think killed a majority of people.

I remember that quake very well, it was raining pine cones and tree branches, and dust was kicked up everywhere. "sh*t flying everywhere" I know exactly what NZ is going through. Similar aftershocks too.

I remember sleeping outside the evening after the main quake, and in the quiet of the night you could hear aftershocks coming. There would be a low pitched hum, and trees in the distance would shimmer, sort of like wind, but it approached faster and more abrupt. The ground would shake for a few seconds and stop, but you could hear the shaking continue in the distance as fast as it came.
USGS recorded something like 30,000 aftershocks in 24 hours.


09-08-2010, 09:22 AM
scary stuff, Bill. The description of the sound struck me, in particular.
30,000 aftershocks sounds fairly unpleasant to me, to say the least.

09-08-2010, 10:39 AM
The aftershocks weren't that bad, only that after the initial tremor everyone's nerves were on edge so it had a tendency to make people nervous or tense from the slightest shake.
The sound was something that stuck with me for a while. The rumble from a jet would get my 12 year old heart pounding. Also, things like opening the garage door, it would jolt the house a bit when it first began to open or close.

It was also the first time i was outside during a quake which was sort of mystifying and horrifying at the same time. I actually didn't think it was an earth quake at fist. One area would suddenly lift, while another area would appear to sink, then an area that sank would lift, while the area that lifted would drop suddenly. The ground appears to move more like a liquid, which is something that you would not notice indoors. It was hard to stay on my feet with out crouching down.

I'm sure your family and friends are fine. I almost think its better to be in a rural area when that sort of disaster strikes. Usually there are less power lines or gas lines to worry about. In a city, i don't think its the actual quake that tends to do so much damage but the fires or flooding that's the cause of broken water and gas lines. You might turn your stuff off, but if a neighbor two blocks away isn't home to do the same, it can be a hazard for everyone. I'm sure there are measures the cities take too.

It can be a frightening experience but its always important to remember what to do in those situations so you can look out for your family, and your neighbors if they aren't home.