Nov. 27-29,’16 ~QofDay~ Earthquake

Have you ever been in a significant earthquake? Tell us about it.

Hi All,

Thanks for thinking of me FOS, and others, and I am fine – in my element you might even say.

I moved to Kaikoura in the full knowledge that these magnificent mountains are created by earthquakes, so I knew it was almost certain that I would experience at least one major quake in the first 50 years – so I was well prepared.

Waking up to a 7.8 30 miles away was interesting.
The books on my bedside table landing on my face got my attention – Luckily I had taken the biggest of them (John Gribben’s History of Science) out to the lounge to use as a reference, as I had just finished reading it. That would have really hurt.
There was no way I was going to try and get out of bed, wouldn’t have been able to stand up. Too shaky.
I was very confident the house would handle it, so I just sort of relaxed and enjoyed the ride.
And we live on fractured limestone, which is about the best material possible if you are in earthquake country. It has a very high wave velocity, over 2,000 m/s. A friend of mine had his house down by Lyell creek, on fine alluvial sediment, where the wave velocity is under 100m/s – so the shaking for him was about 20 times what it was for me, as all the shake energy that is spread over 2km at my place was concentrated in 100m at his place. He woke up as he was flying through the air, having been thrown from his bed, and crashed into a wall, then some piece of furniture flew across the room and hit him on the head, and when he woke up about 20 minutes later it was dark and quiet, and none of the doors worked, and he eventually managed to get out through a window. His house is beyond repair. Mine has hardly a crack in it.
If you live in earthquake country, check what the wave propagation speed is in the material you are intending to build on – the faster the better.

The response of people here in Kaikoura has been amazing.
I have only the deepest praise for the many Kaikoura locals and others from nearby who have done amazing work restoring power, communications, water and sewer systems.
So many people working to repair the many leaks and systems not quite working as they did.

The first response by the local people in caring for frightened tourists was amazing.
Great people, wonderful effort.

What I have far less respect for, bordering on contempt, is the response from roading agencies and centralised (rather than local) civil defense.
We are being told that the road is unsafe.
And in a sort of sense it is – unsafe for tourists and people not used to traveling in this country.

And this is a rural place.
Most people here are well used to traveling on roads and tracks that would give most city people heart failure. We do it safely every day because we have learned how to judge what is safe and what is not.
City bureaucrats have decided that we who travel in rural conditions safely every day, cannot travel a road that is much safer than many we use every day, because tourists from foreign cities may put themselves at serious risk.
That response is entirely inappropriate.

Sure, keep self driving tourists out, but don’t do so by putting locals in prison.

As to the rest of it – it is interesting.

I took my mountain bike and cycled up the road with my cycling buddy Murray. Took more than a few photos.

The uplift at home is clearly visible in a page I did for the boating club:

Other than the fact that we can’t go anywhere else, we are remarkably good. I’m happy enough because I don’t really want to go anywhere else. Many people do want to go elsewhere.
I wouldn’t mind a shopping trip to Christchurch, but we’re remarkably well supplied really.

This afternoon I wrote a submission to select committee on behalf of the Kaikoura Marine Guardians, and then spoke to it briefly this evening.
So life is a crazy topsy turvy sort of whirlwind at present, of things normal and things out of left field.

I guess that’s what happens when the earth moves 😉

[Followed by]

Hi Judi

I don’t live as if disaster is going to strike, I live for the beauty in every moment.

And I have plans thought out for anything I consider a significant risk. Most often I have plan A, plan B, and plan C – and I am always willing to go with whatever seems most appropriate – so I am not limited by my planning, but rather informed and assisted by it.

When I am out on the deck watching the Dolphins cavorting in the bay below – that is all that is there for a few seconds, then I might start thinking about their sonar systems, and the neural networks of their brains that allow them to perceive their world in 3D xray type vision, or the amazing circulatory system they have, ….

When I watch the monarch butterflies – that is what I see, then I start thinking about the biochemistry that has coevolved between them and the swan plants they live on.

When I look at the mountains, I sort of cant help overlaying the plate tectonics, and the fault planes I know about, and sometimes, for a few seconds, they are just mountains.

I guess I just have this weird Ted brain, that does its thing, flitting from subject to subject, testing multiple scenarios, for everything I encounter.

For me, it is fun, it is what I love doing.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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1 Response to Earthquake

  1. It’s good to hear you are safe. I really liked reading your post 🙂


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