The Eye of the Fish

September 4, 2010

Quake: Close Call

Well that was a close one. 7.4 in Christchurch – and loads of damage as only 10km deep.
I was awake at the time (Fish never sleep) and thought it was close to Wellington – it went on for a long time.

We’re pretty lucky up here – we’re waaaaay overdue, and would we also be having facades fall into the street? How many of those buildings that have Danger notices on them – how would we fare?

4 - 09 - 10

I think the whole of NZ is lucky there were no fatalities from that one ! Close call indeed.

4 - 09 - 10

Fortunate for the break in the weather today too. Hopefully our overdue quake holds off another fifty years or so. I fear being smack on the main fault, with such slippery slopes, and reclaimed land, we might not escape with so little loss.

Kent Duston
4 - 09 - 10

There’s a comment over on The Standard noting the similarities between the Christchurch earthquake and the one in Haiti:

A quick comparison of the Haiti earthquake which seemed to be of similar strength with an epicentre a similar distance from Port au Prince as this earthquake’s epicentre is from Christchurch, the death toll was approximately a quarter of a million souls with 300,000 wounded and a million people made homeless. (Latest figures seems to show that the Christchurch earthquake was relatively shallow making it in theory more potentially dangerous.)

Port au Prince -7
Christchurch – 7.1

Distance from epicentre:
Port au Prince – 25km
Christchurch – 33km

Death toll:
Port au Prince – 230,000
Christchurch – 0

They point out also that the depth of the earthquakes was nearly identical at 10km. So a combination of different geology, better building codes and fortuitous timing looks to have saved a lot of lives.

4 - 09 - 10

There’s a lot of heritage buildings in Christchurch that are now no more. TV1 just showed pictures of Homebush almost completely demolished, and a number of old church buildings with lots of damage.
Unreinforced masonry: bad news.

4 - 09 - 10

You’re right about the comparison with Haiti. We are so lucky. But we can’t rely on luck. I wonder how well Wellington is prepared for ours.
The WCC have been posting stickers on buildings telling people to upgrade their building, or demolish, with a time Scale of up to 20 years.
Whadya reckon – time to move a bit faster on that front ?

4 - 09 - 10

5 - 09 - 10

Ohinetai, Sir Miles Warren’s place he spent so much time on, is also badly damaged.

6 - 09 - 10

One harsh but true point to make: there is going to be a lot of work for Architects and builders down in Canterbury over the next year. Recession is over down there – boom time ahead. I’m reminded of the 1931 Napier earthquake, where four of the local architectural practices banded together to form the Associated Architects, of which Louis Hay was a member.

Hay stayed working in his own practice, and, being also a member of the Napier Reconstruction Committee, secured a large number of those post 1931 buildings. Hay started advertising in the local papers advising the people of Napier that his Herschell St office was back up and running a mere 10 days after the earthquake: even though his office was destroyed (he had a new office building constructed a year later).
Source ref: Public Notices, Daily Telegraph, Feb 18, 1931, p1.

Hay’s buildings are still standing and are a good part of the remaining Napier heritage buildings. But it seems to be that first in, best dressed – the NZIA should be advertising down there in Christchurch now, or the new houses will all be crap spec builder homes.

60 MPa
7 - 09 - 10

In a decent (7+) shake here in the Well, Petone’s gone, Upper Cuba is shopfront collapse, Mirimar peninsula will need those boats, SH2 to Hutt is probably out and Ngauranga could be dicey.Ngaio Gorge should hold oncethe rockfalls are cleared.
A decent 4WD and a good boat on the trailer launched on a calm day could be the best way out of town.Te Aro flat will be.

A spare stack of a dozen sheets of plywood in the garage is a good idea, if they were sized to your largest windows that’d just be fancy.Extra points will be awarded for a cubic metre of sand in the garden somewhere and a collection of flat empty synthetic sacks ready for filling.Generators are smelly but an inverter off the car battery will charge ya cell but after a few days that’ll be useless.


Nothing wrong with canned food.

The scary thing that the poor folks down in Chch have to contend with now is that they’ve had Gerry Brownlee assigned to them.
I don’t know about you folks, but that prospect certainly scares me, to paraphrase the Iron Duke.

7 - 09 - 10

Bit difficult for us city dwellers to store all those in a small urban flat, 60 ! And radio is so outdated. I’ll just get podcasts on my iPod

7 - 09 - 10

Ugh. Listening to all these economists/politicians/banker types going on that this will be great stimulus is sickening me no end.

60 Mpa
7 - 09 - 10

Erentz, those money boys bleating about the stimulus are only doing so because of the low casualty rate.
I try to keep in mind that these are the same sort of “demented reef fish” that caused the crash in the first place.

We can all thank thope memory of those 250-odd people who died in Napier in ’31 which made the structural rules tighten up.There would have been determination on the part of diverse unsung heroes who pushed through the changes to minimum code.

Whilst living here breeds familiarity I would like to point out the fact that we have learned from the Napier Quake and have pretty much built accordingly with bloody good results in Chch.(plus it hit in the middle of the night)

I almost feel a belief in civilisation coming on..

Personally I never build to code because the code is too damn weak. I want to be able to share a CC and Dry with my clients 20 years from now with smiles all round.
If work is still this thin in another month, I might look South too – someone’s gotta be on the ground to stem the tide of idiots..

60 Mpa
7 - 09 - 10

speaking of idiots, that was “..thank the memory..”