Monday, June 13, 2011

Double-whammy - Shaken Silent

They say lightning doesn't strike twice, but apparently that doesn't hold for those blasted earthquakes.

Today, we in Christchurch experienced two large earthquakes, a 5.5 followed just over an hour later by a 6.0. It ain't nice. One large quake a day may be just barely admissible (though preferably none at all), but two, and the second LARGER than the first is just madness.

Both times I was sitting at my computer desk - the first time, checking the news (ironically, reading about a the fate of a building that today got a demolition order from the new earthquake recovery agency, CERA) about to head off for lunch, and the second time when I got back from lunch.

Luckily we haven't had any serious damaged this time (the fish was luckily unharmed this time), with the second quake once again dislodging the VCR/DVD from the TV cabinet but the TV stuff thankfully standing (now that the manufacturer explicitly mentions in their setup instructions to attach a bolt through the base into the cabinet).

This time, the power cut out after the second quake for a few hours this afternoon. Once again, hats off to the hard working folk at Orion for getting everything running again a few hours ago, otherwise it'd have been a really cold night here (with predicted overnight lows of around 1 deg C, which usually turn out to be -1 or even -3).

All this comes a week after we were woken at 9am by another 5.5, which strangely felt much weaker than the 5.5 today (and conversely translated to less stuff dislodged the first time).

Regarding the feel of these recent shakes, they seem slightly different to the ones before. While the ones before were more "dry", with clearly defined lateral shunting and/or juddering starts, the large ones recently have been more like sitting on top of a bowl of watery jelly getting shaken. Particularly memorable was getting shunted backwards in my chair at a fast rate, leaving over a meter between me and my desk in under a second during the second shake, meanwhile watching some of the stuff from a nearby bookcase gradually being shaken free (while the contents of another bookcase on the other side of the room stood relatively unscathed).

Hopefully this is just one of those little small sequences which bubbles off quickly...


  1. Jeez when will this stuff let up for a while? Glad nothing was damaged this time.

  2. Well, it had actually been quiet for the past month or two previously (or perhaps I'm starting to delude myself about this), with everyone by and large forgetting about large earthquakes in recent times at last. Or so we thought!

  3. That´s strange, normally a strong one, a then the weaker replicas, nature is really scary. But glad to hear of you, hope no one got hurted this time.

  4. So, apparently they've upgraded their analysis of the magnitudes of these quakes.

    At least the new size of the first one is more consistent with my 5.8 estimate made a few minutes after it struct.

  5. I´have read that the first one cost US$11000 million!!! in loses. grim.
    And the landslides photos are shocking...I live in a very earthquake prone country and I know how mass destruction can be lived.