It is just because humans built cities on the fault lines around the world. That's why the danger and damage are very serious.
Christchurch is built on outwash gravels and sediments from the glacial valleys and beside an extinct volcano, Ah-Pong. The faults are buried and were not known until the September quake last year. In fact, Christchurch was considered one of the stable parts of shaky NZ. Not now though. It has come as a shock and at great cost.
The Mayor Bob Parker used the term, "munted" to express the impact the quakes of September and February have had on the city, its infrastructure and its people.
The aftershocks continue, there being a shallow 5.2 shock just this last week. It made the adrenalin pump I assure you - I got outside as quickly as I could - but the house certainly tossed around briefly.
Most of the higher buildings of Christchurch CBD are being or will be demolished when the engineers work out how to do that safely. The city can never be the same.
Thank you for the info, Ian. That means Christchurch had never suffered a big quake before since it was founded, had it?
We have the same fear. Myanmar and Northern Thailand were rocked by an earthquake of 5 magnitude last month, killing about a hundred in a remote area in Myanmar and damaging a couple of ancient temples in the north, which have stood for centuries. No one knows what changes are happening underneath. Thailand is usually an almost disaster-free country so no one cares about emergency preparedness.
Christchurch copes with a tragedy it did not see coming
By Larry Greenemeier
February 22, 2011
"New Zealanders living in the nation's second-largest city, Christchurch (population approximately 377,000) on the South Island's Canterbury Plains were hit hard Tuesday by magnitude 6.3 earthquake, an aftershock from September's magnitude 7.1 tremor. Prior to these two seismic events, Canterbury Plains likely had not experienced an earthquake in thousands of years. In fact, scientists did not even know there was a geologic fault there until it ruptured last year."
"The latest Christchurch tremors were not as strong as the original earthquake, but they have caused considerably more damage and claimed dozens of lives. (No one died during the September quake). The Christchurch epicenter was only 10 kilometers outside of the city, whereas the 2010 event took place about 40 kilometers to the west, in an area that is mostly farmland. Adding to Christchurch's misfortune, the aftershock struck only about four kilometers in depth below the city, whereas September's temblor originated about 10 kilometers deep. Compounding these problems, Tuesday's quake hit during lunchtime when the city was buzzing with activity, whereas the earlier disaster occurred during early morning hours."
I have just returned from working in Christchurch helping community leaders to better understand traum and how to work with traumatised communities as they recover and rebuild their lives.
But my former profession as a geographer had me visiting the sites of the ruptured ground from the first quake (last September) as well as looking at other sites where major earthquakes have occurred in the remembered past. I will be uploading some images from those areas later.
Hi Ian, I am increasingly impressed with their tragic news and pictures, no one speaks here of what is happening in NZ!!! Your information is always complete... but more remarkable is his work for the community,
You are a great person my friend, I admire him!!! I hope the Earth shaking stops soon!!!
Best regards, Toto
Warmest greetings my friend.
I deeply appreciate your understanding, empathy and encouragement. I learn so much every time I share with others especially in their suffering. And we build bridges of friendship that may have to stretch a long way over the years, but when there is a reunion we find the bridge hasn't collapsed. And what a joy that is.
And as for your media not informing you much on NZ, that is perfectly understandable for there have been many tragedies in your part of the world recently also - from Chile to the floods in the favelas of Rio.
The tremors in Christchurch continue but they appear to be lessening in intensity, only a few are now felt by residents. It may take some years before it settles again. That has been the experience of those who live on Nias Islands and Sumatra where the 2004 quake was centred (from which the disastrous Asian tsunami emanated).
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Photo taken in Christchurch Central, Christchurch, New Zealand
Misplaced? Suggest new location