Strong Quakes Continue to Rattle New Zealand

ring of fire

New Zealand sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire

Much of the central part of New Zealand felt the shock of a 5.7
“severe earthquake” at 9:06 this morning.

The quake was centred 30km east of Seddon, south of Blenheim, at a depth of 16 km. Since then there have been multiple aftershocks. The largest of which was a 4.5 magnitude, located 35 km east of Seddon, at a depth of 16km.

Geonet posted the following statement, showing that the country’s capital Wellington had dodged a bullet again.

“…The fact that it struck in the Cook Strait meant that we were spared the full force of the earthquake, though a handful of people have reported that the quake had a damaging intensity. Within an hour of the earthquake, over 6000 people had submitted felt reports to the GeoNet website. *Note the depth of the earthquake has been revised to 16km as of 1pm Friday, due to further analysis – originally it was located at 8km deep…” Re more here

A couple of years ago a Maori elder gave a chilling prophesy at a Waitangi Day dawn service. Kerei Tia Toa said he had “seen” a great earthquake that was going to ravage Wellington.

The earthquake would cause a massive tsunami that would travel south to Kaikoura, wipe out Wellington and destroy land as far north as Whanganui. He saw body bags on the streets of Wellington, the roof of the Beehive in ruins and the army on the streets.  He gave no year for the event but thought it could happen in June. Watch the video here

Considering that Wellington’s earthquake risks are well documented his prediction shouldn’t be that startling, it’s a matter of when – not if.

The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami occurred because of a large earthquake on another part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, on which New Zealand is located.  Over a quarter of a million people died that day. New Zealand, as one of the most tsunami threatened countries on earth has a high risk of inundations from both local and distant tsunamis. Watch the video here

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council ran an exercise which postulated that local residents would only have a 50 minute warning of a 13m-high wave caused by a Kermadec Trench earthquake. You’d think that the country would be well prepared for such an event but alarm systems aren’t standardised across the country, meaning that some wouldn’t even know what the alarm sounded like and may ignore it or fail to hear it.

In the event of a local quake people shouldn’t wait for the sirens but head for higher ground immediately.

“The message we do give to the public is that when it’s a close-source event, they should be looking for their own signs,” he said. “If they feel an earthquake and they are close to the coast, then once the quake has stopped, they should go to higher ground.”

At some of New Zealand’s more dangerously exposed areas the window between a quake and a tsunami reaching the shore might only be 20 minutes…” source: Tsunami warning: Waiting on siren sound may cause deadly delay NZ Herald

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Wellington not prepared for a major earthquake, all routes could be blocked(Feb 2012) :

Here are some of the implications of a major earthquake in Wellington, as reported by Stuff. The city would become unreachable and all routes in and out will be blocked.

  • Major routes in and out of New Zealand’s  could be blocked by rubble from more than 400 buildings with unstable masonry in the event of a big earthquake.
  • The city’s economy would take a $37 billion hit if it experienced an event like the Christchurch earthquake, with many core businesses and services – including the Government – likely to leave the city permanently.
  • Many of those earthquake-prone buildings are along important strategic roads, which means that routes needed by emergency services may be blocked by fallen masonry.
  • Wellington City Council is investigating ways in which it can help to speed up earthquake-strengthening work in the city…” more here

Strong earthquake jolts Wellington (Sept 2011)

A magnitude 4.3 quake jolted the Wellington area at 5.27 this afternoon. The quake followed two larger earthquakes a 5.6 and a 6.0 in the sea off the northeast coast of the North Island. Read Two Large Earthquakes Off New Zealand (15 September 2011) There has been a lot of activity in the Kermadec trench recently, accompanied by earthquakes in Christchurch, Matata and now Wellington… more here

Wellington Earthquake, Are You Prepared?” (March 2011)

Do you know the effects that a major earthquake will have in Wellington, capital of New Zealand?

Following on from yesterday’s blog about the 1996 documentary, in which cogent warnings about the effects of an earthquake in Christchurch were proven unnervingly accurate, we’d like to re-publish a blog we posted in early October last year. This was written shortly after the Sept 2010 Canterbury earthquake.

This is it, including the  links at the end.

“A reader has sent in a link to a video which depicts the possible  scenario after a large scale (8.2) earthquake and resulting tsunami hit  Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand… more here

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