A clearinghouse for #eqnz science reports

By David Winter 23/02/2011

Like many New Zelanders, I’m struggling to understand what happened yesterday. We all know that a devestating earthquake struck Christchurch around lunchtime yesterday, killing at least 75 people and destroying much of that beautiful city. Of course, the tragedy of the Christchurch earthquake can be measured only in the lives it’s affected, you don’t need to know about rocks to understand this story, which has no doubt been repeated in a thousand different variations across the city. Obviously, the most important thing at the moment is that people in Christchurch get the help they need. Still, if you have a brain like mine, then somewhere in the struggle to understand the tragedy and the overwhelming feeling of uselessness you just need to know how this happened. I’m going to use this post to collate links to articles that do a good job of explaining some of the science behind yesterday’s earthquake, but first here’s what I’ve learned from reading them.

The quake seems to part of the sequence of aftershocks from the 7.1 Darfield earthquake of September. It might be that the massive release of pressure in that quake added to the strain at a fault that was already under stress; or it might simply by part of the pattern of aftershocks following that quake which have been progessively more shallow as they’ve proceeded. What’s abundantly clear is that, even though this new quake was 6.3M and therefore about 5 times less intense than the Darfield one at its origin, it was much more violent than the first. The eipcentre was only 5km for the centre of the city and only 5km below the surface. The peak acceleration, one measure of the strength of the shaking from a quake was 1.88 g which is about 50% stronger than any measurement from the Darfield quake and much greater than anything recorded near to the city in that event. That powerful shaking, the lunchtime rush and already damaged buildings proved to be a terrible combination.


Science Media Centre



General Aggregators

I’ll keep this post updated with any new pages that add something to the story, so please pass any useful links along in comments or via email (david.winter at gmail).

    0 Responses to “A clearinghouse for #eqnz science reports”

    • Yes, those are the ones that are both genuine and real.

      Also between syndicating updates and fixed typos on this I’m about ready to ditch the ‘other’ atavism and consolidate this blog here…

    • A comeback with class, but I see that I’m now demoted to general 🙂

      Topic for another day, really, but it’s interesting to read your thoughts on moving to sciblogs; I’ve been considering moving to syndicating so that I can fiddle with plug-ins, etc. I can never time to move the blog, never mind fiddle, so perhaps that’s hinting something?