Personal story from Christchurch earthquake

Earth | | February 25, 2011 at 08:37

This is the email from my friend Brutus who has an organic farm not far from Christchurch New Zealand. I had asked about earthquake history in CC, wondering if it were like San Francisco or Los Angeles where you live at your own risk.

“Christchurch, like all NZ, got little tremors every now and again, but no one was aware of the
fault line that has ripped open – twice -and more to come according to the experts….
Christchurch was a total mess after #1,but has now been destroyed. Much of what is still standing
will have to be torn down,and the entire infrastructure is kaput.
I am lucky I have my little spring for water, and only the stone cladding came off the house.

It is macabre knowing there are dead bodies under the rubble, and NZ is really 2 degrees of separation,
so everyone is in shock. My wife’s sister is missing. A friend’s daughter was killed and his wife had to have
her leg amputated when the mall collapsed on them. The bedroom I usually sleep in in ChCH is just a pile of
bricks,and Christelle got out secounds before being crushed.

I am not going anywhere near it until I have to. Brutus.”

The earthquake was a magnitude 6.3 which struck at 12:51 pm on Feb 22, 2011. The epicenter was 1 mi west of Lyttelton and only 6 mi SE of Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city. There is some discussion whether the quake was a separate event or, as according to New Zealand’s GNS Science an after shock of the Sep 2010 7.1-magnitude known as Canterbury earthquake.

The peak ground acceleration (PGA) in Christchurch was greater than 1.8g and the highest PGA ever recorded in New Zealand. This quake was especially damaging because the epicenter was so close to Christchurch and at a relatively shallow depth of 5 kilometers. Seismic lensing with waves rebounded off the hard basalt of the Port Hills back into the city, bringing down structures already weakened by the Sep 2010 quake.

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