Sunday, December 26, 2010

Just when you think it's all over...

From last night till the time of writing this post, we've (Christchurch residents) been reminded once again of the power of Mother Nature.

Even before heading to bed, there was already a little gentle shake... something that felt like one of those 3.4-ers or less.

Then at around 2am this morning, there were 2 "rapid fire" shakes: small-ish but still scary considering that it was dark (like that first one that changed everything), and that the second one occurred mere minutes after the first one had started settling down.

Falling asleep after the shock of these two was hard. Were these shakes the precursor for more seismic activity overnight? Is there going to be a third one any moment now? Questions that had long fallen silent after over a month without any major shaking began swirling around in the darkness, hovering over my bed like a swarm of impatient flies and mosquitos...

As it turned out, daybreak was not going to be much better.

Waking up at sometime between 8 and 9, there was another "little" shake; nothing big, but just one of those little shudders that we had been getting, though very infrequently nowadays that we'd generally ignore them. Very quickly though, "sleeping-in" instincts took over again, and I fell asleep again.

Sometimes the greatest surprises and shocks come when you least expect them.

Just like all its shaky brethren before it, the 1030 shake started with a little quivering. But within mere moments, it became clear that this wasn't going to be just another little quake. The shaking or rather shunting was rather rough, and it didn't stop after a second, but continued for a few. All around, things were falling off shelves again, including stuff that hadn't moved for a while, with the clinking of glass and the dull thuds of things falling to the ground in undignified falls from grace. And then the power cut out.

All of a sudden, we were back to September 4th, except this time it wasn't pitch black. Just like on that first day, aftershocks came rolling in thick and fast. With every few steps you took, the ground would shudder ominously. With the power out, this was bound to be another big shake of at least 5... surely a 5.1 or .2, or perhaps this was the much hyped though "increasingly statistically unlikely" 6 or greater quiver. Is this the start of another few months of quake-action all over again?

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