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Kaikoura Earthquake 2016

November 14, 2016

Just after midnight last night, 14 November 2016, I was forcefully shaken awake by an earthquake that saw me dive under the nearest table.  After what felt like 2-3 minutes of rocking and rolling, it abated and I checked online to see which North Island area had been hit.  I was quite astonished to find that this magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Hanmer Springs in the South Island, which is quite a long way from Dannevirke.  Shortly after, the string of large earthquakes continued with several strong quakes at Kaikoura and Seddon, and several smaller one’s throughout the North Island from Taupo, White Island, and in Taranaki.

This video shows what it felt like in Wellington, with three scared cats:

 

kaikoura-road

The initial earthquake was felt strongly over all of New Zealand, and the radio was abuzz with concerned citizens from Dargaville to Dunedin, as there was absolutely no word from the epicentre for quite some time.  Eventually, it was ascertained that many homes were badly damaged or destroyed, and sadly two people have been killed (to date). There are still people missing however, and an unspecified number of casualties. News is still forthcoming as access to some areas has been cut off by landslides.

 

 

 

Site of one fatality

Earthquakes of various severity have continued almost non-stop since last night as you can see on the Geonet monitoring site.  A small tsunami of 1-2 metres struck the East Coast of the South Island around Kaikoura shortly after the quakes also.

New Zealand is a country sitting astride two tectonic plates of course, so this sort of thing is expected. Not many New Zealanders haven’t experienced earthquakes, and accept that this is the price we  pay to live in this little bit of paradise (doesn’t mean we have to like them though!).  Kiwis are aware that a “big one” can hit at any time, and our Government continually advises us all to have grab-bags prepared and stores of food/water.  Lessons have been learned from the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, but inevitably, complacency sets in until we are harshly jolted into reality again.

Historically, there have been many big earthquakes before. The largest ever recorded in NZ was magnitude 8.2 in 1855 – of course, the Taupo Supervolcano would’ve caused tremendous earthquakes but that was 27,000 years ago, before recorded history.  These days Taupo is very closely monitored so that the NZ population will have plenty of warning before the next event ; in fact GNS Science (geoscience) has a research base there.

We hope everyone is coping with this difficult situation, and that the people close to the epicentres are being safely cared for. Let’s hope that the situation settles down again soon. Kia kaha.

Natalie

Addendum: both North & South Islands of NZ have physically moved from this quake.

 

 

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