April 20, 2011

Cliff top life - Christchurch style

Christchurch has long been split into those that live on the hills vs the "swamp dwellers"... but life up on the hills is a little more exciting now than down here on the swampy liquefied flat... in fact, many people don't live up there at the moment as there are a lot of decisions being made about rock falls and cliff safety... 

A series of aerial photos is available on this interesting pdf file here - photos start on p10
and see the newspaper article about them here
GNS Science has taken some stunning aerial images of damage to Christchurch's eastern cliffs.
GNS experts used aerial surveys to catalogue the extent of rock falls in the days immediately after the quake.

The yellow house in the photo above is on the main beach road and I took these pictures of it recently....

This cliff face is above Redcliffs School... the red roofed buildings

View from the other side...

I took these recently of it after the children returned to school...

Boulders crashing onto houses was another problem.

Worth enlarging this to see the route the bolder took.

This house has a boulder crash through it too - see house on left - boulder came through trees above

The boulder house close up

Even as you drive along, you realise something this big could roll down in the next aftershock.... and the real pain is you have absolutely no idea when this will be.  

The good news is that they are using explosives to bring down the loose rocks, but not a lot will help the cliff faces.

Aftershocks remained the single greatest threat to further rock falls and there had been some evidence of cracks in rocks widening since Saturday's strike, he said. ( He is referring to the 5.3 we had this weekend
''Rock falls are caused by aftershocks more than wet weather. Unless we get a downpour, anything goes then. (and we are getting  a lot of very heavy rain at the moment)
''The potential for more rocks to come down is high, especially with the sort of aftershocks we've had over the weekend.''
Hancox agreed with a Civil Defence prediction that some houses might be beyond protection and would have to be abandoned.
''It's probably a realistic possibility.
''The difference is a lot of these buildings were built a long time ago. They didn't have a history of [earthquakes] to be aware of. Now they are aware of the changes they're going to be more wary.''
He said some building owners, such as Redcliffs School, had shown good foresight by digging trenches or erecting rock fences for protection.

The worst bit is that five people died in rock falls, three were in buildings, and two were just walking over the hills.

Have a look at all the other great photos too - link again for you - here


  1. I don't know why, but 8 of the photos weren't shown.

  2. Wow. That's all there is to say about those pictures. I'm not sure I'd be feeling too comfortable right now if I was living on one of those cliffs.


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