Three hours ago New Zealand’s GNS science issued a fresh alert for Whakaari or White Island, a volcano that lies a mere 30 miles off the north east coast of the North Island.
Increased volcanic activity has come at a time when New Zealand has been experiencing swarms of earthquakes, the strongest of which were two shallow quakes near to Whanganui in the North Island and Christchurch in the South Island both on Saturday (see details below) There have also been whale strandings in the last week or so (taken by some as a sign of increased seismic activity) including one on Paraparaumu Beach north west of the capital Wellington.
Recent strong earthquakes in New Zealand
- Public Id: 2013p049577
- NZDT: Saturday, January 19 2013 at 9:15:08 pm
- Intensity: strong
- Depth: 12 km
- Magnitude: 4.6
- Location: 15 km south-west of Christchurch
- Public Id: 2013p049057
- NZDT: Saturday, January 19 2013 at 4:37:55 pm
- Intensity: strong
- Depth: 9 km
- Magnitude: 4.2
- Location: 30 km south-west of Whanganui
THE GNS has published the volcanic alert bulletin on its website, saying
“GNS volcanologist Brad Scott said “the hydrothermal activity is some of the most vigorous I have seen at White Island for many years. This type of activity usually leads to stronger volcanic activity and is a significant concern.” more here
According to a report on Stuff.co.nz Brad Scott said ”I don’t think I’ve seen anything this strong since the late 90s and 2000s. The activity then led to a large eruption in July, 2000.”
Get Ready, Get Thru
If you are live in the Bay of Plenty we think it only prudent to be taking stock of your emergency supplies and disaster preparedness, in the event that an ash fall event could affect the area.
It is wise to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Advice on what to do may be found here Get Ready Get Thru, GNS have said “The state of unrest at White Island is increasing and future eruptions are possible with little or no warning.”
Hours after a 7.3 earthquake struck east coast of Honshu, Japan, New Zealand has been shaken by a widespread earthquake swarm which was felt in much of the country. The quake epicentres stretched from Christchurch in the south to Morrinsville in the North.
The USGS reported the largest earthquake as a M6.3, 21 ESE of Tokoroa
New Zealand’s Geonet site reported the quake to be a subduction zone earthquake , M5.8, 20km SE of Tokoroa.
- Public Id: 2012p923684
- NZDT: Saturday, December 8 2012 at 7:19:06 am
- Intensity: moderate
- Depth: 175 km
- Magnitude: 5.8
- Location: 20 km south-east of Tokoroa
Yesterday Canterbury experienced its largest earthquake for some weeks, a shallow 3.6 centred 25km west of Christchurch.
The quakes were immediately reported by the Trademe community, a person near Wellington wrote
“Heard it coming here in Kapiti and it was fast moving. Seemed to go on and on with the more serious shakes in the middle. Initial wondering was if the mountain had finally erupted but don’t think so.”
Another in New Plymouth said
felt in New Plymouth… i never feel quakes!
Activity is still continuing at Mount Tongario which erupted on 21 November.
In August we blogged about magma rising beneath Mt Tongariro, asking it it were linked to a magnitude 7 earthquake 60km south of the Taranaki town of Opunake. It was the largest in the area for 120 years and people from Bay of Plenty to Otago reported feeling it.
The quake went largely unreported outside of New Zealand but the Earthquake Commission received almost 1650 claims.
The following NZ volcanoes remain on Alert Level one, aviation colour code Yellow: Tongariro, White Island and Ruapehu. This morning’s Tokoroa quake was recorded on drums at all three volcanoes.
“Since 1900 there have been 15 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded near New Zealand. Nine of these, and the four largest, occurred along or near the Macquarie Ridge, including the 1989 M8.2 event on the ridge itself, and the 2004 M8.1 event 200 km to the west of the plate boundary, reflecting intraplate deformation. The largest recorded earthquake in New Zealand itself was the 1931 M7.8 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, which killed 256 people. The last M7.5+ earthquake along the Alpine Fault was 170 years ago; studies of the faults’ strain accumulation suggest that similar events are likely to occur again.” USGS
Coming to Christchurch to teach, or put your children through school?
You may want to think again after official data published today showed there has been a net outflow of families and older workers from the quake stricken city,
“There was a net outflow of children and their parents from Christchurch after the earthquake, and fewer young adults arrived for study.”
Over the two year period, the number of children between the ages of zero to 19 decreased by 9300, while the number of people between 35 and 49 decreased by 5700..”source
This is perhaps why 38 schools are either being closed or consolidated, prompting what has been spun as a “shake up” (poor choice of words) of education in the Canterbury region last month,
PM defends Christchurch school closures.
Controversial plans to shake up Canterbury’s education system will change before they are finalised, Prime Minister John Key says.
In his first remarks since the planned school closures were announced, Key said changing demographics, costly repair bills and ministry research were behind sweeping proposals to close 13 schools and put 25 through some form of merger… more here.
The proposed changes have angered many, as has the overall lack of a consultative approach in the rebuilding of Christchurch. Principal John Bangma was shocked at how he was told of the forthcoming changes,
“ A Christchurch principal is appalled at how he and his colleagues were told their schools could close.
Principals are also upset they still have no idea about the rationale behind the proposals to close, merge and relocate their schools…”
One news report told how 500 principals were all brought together at a meeting in Lincoln hosted by Education Minister, Hekia Parata, and given coloured name badges to wear. They later found out the badges were colour coded according to the fate of their school.
“Linwood Intermediate School principal Lee Walker said he was appalled at the ministry’s handling of the event.
After hearing Parata speak about a $1 billion investment in education in the region, he was given a pack of information which told him his school was proposed to close.
“There was this stunned silence going around the room. You could feel the anger build in the room.”
There was no information in the pack about what he was supposed to do next and when the proposed closure could happen.
“There was a lot of anger from people about how we have been told and treated.”…” more here
Coincidentally, a relative of Parata has lodged a final approval to open a new school in Christchurch but the minister said there was “no conflict of interest“,
A new Christchurch school, which will be run by a relative of Education Minister Hekia Parata, is waiting on government approval.
The school, Te Pa O Rakaihautu, was endorsed by the ministry just weeks before work began on the overhaul of the city’s education in October last year.
The Press understands the final application is lodged and awaiting approval. Te Pa is chaired by Parata’s second cousin, Rangimarie Parata Takurua, sparking accusations from Labour of a conflict of interest.
It will be a character school, which is similar to a charter school. Both are state-funded and have the power to develop their own way of teaching… more here
And if all that wasn’t enough to stretch Canterbury’s already stressed teaching staff there are problems with their pay too. Read Pay system leaves teacher with just $4, Stuff, 18 October 2012,
“The $29 million Novopay system was rolled out in August. The Press was contacted by dozens of school staff yesterday complaining about the system.
Among those who expressed concern was a teacher who was paid just $41 for two weeks of fulltime teaching.
”I am stressed, sleep-deprived and feel completely undervalued as a teacher,” she said.
”I certainly don’t feel like the enthusiastic, effective teacher that I want to be four weeks before my students sit their exams.”
Two others said they were waiting on substantial amounts of holiday pay.
Another two said they had not been paid for short-term relief work before the school holidays that began at the beginning of the month…”
Suggested further reading
Does this feel like the caring, socially inclusive country that you’d like it to be?
We’d like to hear from people in the education sector, or parents affected by these changes. Tell us how they are affecting you and your family. We’d also like to hear from people intending to migrate to Christchurch and would like to give them the opportunity to ask questions about education in the region,
We’re advising our New Zealand readers to have their emergency kits and plans at the ready after another earthquake shook the North Island this morning.
A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has been felt throughout the lower and middle North Island.
Centred about 10km north-east of Taupo, Geonet said the intensity was “moderate”.
Felt as far south as Nelson and as far North as Hamilton, the quake struck at a depth of 110 km.
Geonet upgraded the magnitude from an earlier reading of 5.1.” read more
The quake details are as follows (source geonet)
|Universal Time||October 16 2012 at 23:42:55|
|NZ Daylight Time||Wednesday, October 17 2012 at 12:42:55 pm|
|Latitude, Longitude||-38.64, 176.17|
|Focal Depth||110 km|
|Location||10 km north-east of Taupo|
The quake was recorded at the drum at Black Stump farm
“Wellington CBD 12th floor – quite a big rock-roll happened here…”
“going to change my pants in wellington!”
The country’s MPs were also affected. Grant Robertson, MP tweeted the quake was felt strongly in Parliament.
“That was a big one. Well, felt big in Parliament House,”
and another Trademe member said it had been felt strongly in Taupo
“Holy crap….bad her in Taupo”
On a British expats forum a person in Feilding wrote
I hid under my desk. The energy of the earthquake took four minutes to travel from Taupo to Feilding where I work. My husband felt it and he’s in Wellington today.
Did anyone else drop, cover, hold ? No, thought not.
No reports yet of damage…
As with some other earthquakes this one was preceded by whale strandings
Odd thing is, I was reading a thread last night about 51 whales stranding themselves at east cape, with the op saying, you know what that means, then this quake today.
the same thing happened in feb 2011 48 hours before the chch feb quake
kind of a weird.
Another strong earthquake hit Christchurch at 1.35pm today.
The mag 4.2 quake, only 12km deep, was centred 20km east of the city. Geonet described it as “strong” and said it was followed by a smaller 3.8 quake at 2:01pm.
Public Id: 2012p713691itNZST: Friday, September 21 2012 at 1:35:03 pm
Depth: 12 km
Location: 15 km east of Christchurch
This is the first significant shake for a while and reminder that Christchurch isn’t out of the woods yet. It is over 2 years since the first major quake shook the city and over 12,000 earthquakes have shaken the region since then, putting a dampner on reconstruction efforts .
Shocked residents were quick to post their experiences on the TradeMe forum, saying
“Wow, it doesn’t take much for those feelings to come rushing back does it? The first one I’ve felt in ages, and now it feels like they never stopped! Instantly checked that the pantry kiddy lock was done up and boiled the jug – paranoid or what???”
“Holy crap, that scared the $#$@ out of me!”
“At least a four, off North Beach way. Make my house really shake. Can we expect another one in an hour????”
“havent felt any since that one up north off the coast but mother nature is just reminding us not to let our guard down.Its a good time to check the water in the earthquake bins as we call them.”
and on Twitter
“first shake in a while, packed a decent punch over here by the airport
#eqnz“ “#eqnz Quite a jolt & long shake in CBD Chc.”
“4 storeys up when you feel the first decent shake in months = unpleasant!