November 14, 2016

Shaky end to my birthday weekend...

We are ok - just saddened to be going through another major earthquake swarm here in New Zealand.

Just after midnight a 7.5 earthquake hit near Hanmer Springs/Culverden and then followed by a run of  aftershocks, extending a long way up and down both islands. Latest reports today say it was actually two quakes that hit simultaneously....the 7.5 is four times as powerful as the 7.1 that hit Darfield, Christchurch in 2010. That fault rupture was 30km long and last nights probably four times as long.

So a sleepless night with eastern tsunami alerts and many people evacuated from coastal areas. I managed some sleep from about 4 pm but it is no surprise that most people are not functioning very well today. There is a lot of damage around the island - roads and slips - and two people have died.

After 17,000 recorded quakes it really is no surprise to be having them - and we do have a plate / fault line running up and down both islands...sliding past and crashing into each other. Last night the quake was potentially on the plate boundary and it caused a slip one and an up/down thrust one.  Kaikoura was up down motion, and Seddon was clearly a side to side motion. The size and length of was an unwelcome return and the swarm that followed it brings back a lot of fears and memories we can all do without. There have been a few hundred aftershocks - one a 6.4 that sent us out of our 4th floor office today and a decision to work at home!

Many of the quakes were recorded as Severe on

and the Drums were busy.

It has made the top 100 quake list...

This man's house was sitting on top of one of the fault lines - which has always been one of my personal nightmares about earthquakes.

The tsunami sirens were going for a long time....we could faintly hear them on the beach.  I spent a bit of time checking the maps and wondering whether to get the kids up and head inland as we are on the borders of safety - but they put the evacuation centre closer than us so finally decided it was safe to sleep.  If you have facebook - here is a video of the sirens and the night scene:

There are major slips on State Highway one south of Kaikoura - blocking off the road and the railways. Taken from Rebuild Christchurch facebook page: -

 The Clarence River near Kaikoura is now blocked by a landslide...

The sky lit up at the time of the earthquake - This is a natural phenomenon, according to National Geographic.

Here is a page with latest news updates...
By 2.10pm, 382 aftershocks had struck the region. Of those, 216 were more than magnitude 4​.

There is a live quake map here- you can play the last week - look for Monday 14th Nov and play that....scary!

Still life goes on. I have had a really fabulous three day weekend and it has been over just minutes when the quake struck.  But it has been wonderful to have some great times with friends and family and my house is filled with wine and chocolates and flowers and things that smell purrrrfect.

Kia Kaha New Zealand- when you're not shaking, you are still a wonderful place to live :)


  1. As you know Fiona I've been following this from the start and I have to say that when I got the first Geonet alert on my phone my blood ran cold. Having only experienced minor quakes in Napier and been disturbed by them I cannot, and never have been able to, imagine what you are all going through.

    I'm glad that you enjoyed your birthday weekend. I wish you good health for the year ahead.

    Are Jaz and the family okay?

    As you say, Kia Kaha!

    1. Yes Jaz and Mark and the girls are fine, although closer to the action than I am up in North Canterbury. Jaz says there are a lot of helicopters overhead as they head up and down to the damaged areas. The pictures appearing of the damage are very sad - Christchurch know how it feels all too well and hope there won't be more. The powerlessness is the worst part...

  2. Terrible and good news at the same time - terrible that you have to deal with yet another batch of earthquakes, but good to know you have had a wonderful weekend and are alright.
    I love the last sentence of your post!

    1. Thank you.... feels strange that life goes on and we are trying to work and act normally through it all. I confess to feeeling tearful during the big aftershocks on the fourth floor. I want to be on the ground floor and at home!

  3. Thanks for the update and for the Quake map. Hope it's all over now. We suffered quakes when we lived in Italy and they're something we'd never wish to experience again. You and yours are in our thoughts.

    1. Thanks Angus - really feel for our northern neighbours ... the earthquake has been upgraded to a 7.8 and the impact to the area, particularly around Kaikoura, is massive. On top of that Wellington has condemned buildings, had terrible floods - and today a tornado. Mother Nature is really having a hissy fit.

  4. "Mother Nature is really having a hissy fit." A very descriptive statement or perhaps understatement. Things are certainly not looking good for Wellington where the devastation may not be great as around Kaikoura but the physical and mental affect on a greater number of people is significant.

    1. Yes - it's hard to cope when people expect business as usual but no trains and roads closed etc... I really feel for them as we are soooo swamped with end of year assessments and marking and I can only imagine how hard it is for schools and tertiary people and students....and all the people who can't get an income due to the disruption. All against the backdrop of a moving ground and worrying about every jolt. Many of us here are feeling quite stressed at the memories it dredges up too. We really do know what they are experiencing.


Comments welcome....always love to hear what you think!


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