Every year in New Zealand we have over 15,000 Earthquakes. Some we feel, others we don’t even notice because they’re so small.
There’s been three major Earthquakes in New Zealand which have killed many and destroyed homes over the past hundred years.
The first major Earthquake happened in 1855. It still is the most powerful Earthquake ever recorded to happen in New Zealand. At a magnitude of 8.2, it altered the landscape of the Wellington region and triggered a tsunami in the Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour. However it wasn’t a massive one with only some buildings on Lambton Quay near the shoreline flooded by tsunami waves.
The second biggest one happened in 1931 in The Hawkes Bay, it killed 256 people and injured thousands. The region was destroyed and it still remains as New Zealand’s deadliest natural disaster to date. This was a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake which lasted for two and a half minutes. Obviously I wasn’t around then, but I’ve read a lot about it and seen some pictures online. Thankfully, there was a Royal Navy Ship in port at the time so they quickly sent radio messages asking for help and extra assistance which came quickly.
And finally, the freshest one that I can defiantly remember was on February the 11th, 2011 just before 1pm.
I had come home early from school that day as I was in my last year of High School so had a study break. I switched on the TV to find a Breaking News story of a major 6.3 magnitude earthquake that had just hit Christchurch (South Island of New Zealand)
A big reason 185 people died in this Earthquake, compared to the one Christchurch had 5 months earlier, was because of the time the Earthquake hit.
The first 7.1 magnitude Earthquake was in the middle of the night where many people where at home. This time round it was lunch time. Everyone was either at work or at school and many people where walking along the streets at the time.
Many buildings that where previously damaged in the September earthquake, especially older brick and mortar buildings fell apart. Two multi-storey office buildings collapsed and killed many, while six people died in buses crushed by falling debris.
This Earthquake hitting was a major struggle for locals. They experienced many aftershocks and so many homes were damaged. Over 70,000 people had to leave Christchurch because their homes were un-livable and the CBD was cordoned off for 2 years.
As you can see from the video above, Christchurch has slowly restored itself back to a place where people love to visit and live.
The reason I’m writing this post, is because just the other week Wellington experienced a ‘bigger than usual’ earthquake. In my previous post I mentioned how I was away in Taupo for the weekend with my partner when the Earthquake struck. We woke up to a jolt but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. In the South Island of Kaikoura they’d experienced a 7.8 earthquake and it was felt all up New Zealand – some people even felt it in Hamilton which is near the top of the North Island!
In Wellington (4 hours drive away from where I was staying) people left their homes in the middle of the night and weren’t allowed back at work the next day until their buildings had been inspected.
Here we are two weeks later and a couple of buildings in the city are having to be destroyed because they’re not safe anymore. Many office buildings are still closed as well as Reading Courtney (which is the main Cinema/food court area) in the city.
There are concerns about the multi-storey car park next to it, so strengthening will begin in the next few days where steel props and framing will be installed along, possibly, with Kevlar “wraps” on building pillars to stabilize the structure.
New Zealand is prone to having Earthquakes as we lie on the boundary between the Australian Plate and the Pacific Plate.
Along these plates there are many faults, such as the Alpine Fault and the Wellington Fault. Blocks of rock on the faults sometimes move upwards or sideways, producing earthquakes.
However, don’t be scared to come to New Zealand!
I’ve lived here my whole life and even though I’ve felt many (as I live in Wellington) I’ve never wanted to move away because of them.Even yesterday at work there was a little shake. But I think that’s only because we’re still experiencing after-shocks 2 weeks later from the bigger one we had.
I was just reading online before how “Seismologists at Geonet have been left “scratching their heads” at the aftershock pattern following the M7.8 Kaikoura earthquake.” as the “aftershock sequence is falling within the lower end of our forecasted range”
I don’t know what to think of this, does that mean another bigger shake is coming, just like it did in the Christchurch Earthquake? Eek.
I just hope I’m not at work if it happens.