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Friends rang us in great excitement this morning to ask if we were following the news about the big earthquake in Chile, and of tsunami alerts that had been issued for coastal areas around NZ. (The answer was actually ‘no’; I’d just got in from a walk with the puppy & hadn’t turned the radio on.)

Anyway, the Science Media Centre has some very good commentary & resources centred on this seismic event, & I thought that those teachers with students who’ll be working on ‘Planet Earth’ standards this year might find them extremely useful. There’s a media briefing here, and a post by Peter Griffin, that includes a presentation by Victoria University’s Dr John Townsend, here.

Big quakes are not uncommon in Chile, given that it sits above the boundary of two big tectonic plates. Charles Darwin wrote about the aftermath of one such event in his Beagle diary, and it’s still worth a read today. He also complained, in a letter to his sister Catherine, about how he’d experienced ‘just’ one little earthquake himself – he almost sounds disappointed! Those looking for some other reading material might enjoy Perils of a restless planet by Ernest Zebrowski. I found it fascinating, although my Significant Other laments that there a are no colour pictures (hardly surprising when you consider that the book covers past events, some of which occurred well & truly before cameras were invented, much less colour film!)