Friday, September 3, 2010

Earthquakes: Back in the News

I'm sure the news has reached most people - regarding New Zealand's earthquake, which was measured at 7.1, but a quick check of the earthquake map reveals an atypically active period across the globe.

First, the news on New Zealand:

"Quake hit Christchurch 'like an iceberg'"

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker is thankful there has been no loss of life but there had been considerable damage across the city and outlying areas.

Christchurch has been left devastated after a massive 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck 30km west of the city at 4.35am this morning.

The quake was at a depth of 10-12km and was centred near Darfield, and has left large parts of the area without power, water or telephones.

Electricity was being slowly restored to the city but there were still concerns about the situation with water and waste water.

Mr Parker said the inner city was being closed down, city residents are being asked to save water and not flush the toilet, not to go to "rubbernecking", and check on their neighbours.

Mr Parker said the worst problems seem too centred on city's eastern suburbs and rural areas in outlying Christchurch.

The assessments of damage are just getting underway, but it appears that the city has suffered significantly:

Street surfaces have risen up into a peak in the middle of a Christchurch road, while craters in the road have filled with water from ruptured mains. People in vehicles are trying to avoid them.

Among the affected streets are Hills Rd in Shirley and others in the suburb of St Albans.

In other areas roads have been blocked by debris after the several buildings collapsed onto the streets, leaving their interiors visible and the central city resembling a war zone.

Large groups of onlookers have gathered to survey the damage and take pictures with their cameras and mobile phones.

Damaged buildings tend to be brick buildings. Lots of areas where bricks have fallen have been cordoned off.

Several large aftershocks have already struck the region, and wardens dressed in high-visibility gear are asking people to stay well clear of buildings because of the high risk of further collapses.

Traffic lights are still not working in several places around the central city, creating gridlock as the traffic flow increases.

Looking at the Earthquake Map reveals a lot of activity across the globe:

6.3 Aleutian Islands
5.7 New Zealand (aftershock)
5.6 Sumatera Indonesia
5.3 Japan (region)
5.1 New Britain Region
5.0 Vanuatu Islands
5.0 Argentina
4.9 Flores Sea
4.8 Mariana Islands

Thats a big 24 hour period for earthquakes, and something to keep an eye on for a while.

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