Quake Rattles Rooms, Residents Alike
By Ben Jury
Dec 28, 2011 - 7:05:11 PM
CHRISTCHURCH—It started with a shake. “It came out of the blue, even though we should expect the unexpected living here,” Suzanne Ross, an elementary school secretary, told Canyon News.
An earthquake shook Christchurch, the second most populous city in New Zealand, on December 23. This comes 10 months after a 6.3 magnitude quake struck Christchurch in February, killing 181, according to a New Zealand police report. There have been 5,025 earthquakes and aftershocks of varying magnitudes, according to the University of Canterbury’s Christchurchquakemap page. GeoNet, a website hosted by New Zealand’s top geological science research company GNS Science, recorded about three dozen major earthquakes since the February earthquake.
The effects of both earthquakes were unnerving, though nowhere near as scary as the previous ones. “These quakes weren't as bad, but there were still people without power and water,” Kathryn Thomas, who experienced the earthquakes, informed Canyon News. “Around 20,000 people were without power straight after the quakes... power was back quickly this time, to all other than 30.”
Some of the devastation from the February quake. Photo courtesy of Simon O'Donoghue.
“I had just arrived home from school and walked into my lounge,” Mrs. Ross continued. “I quickly dropped to the fall and held onto the chair. I can't explain how the place just moves so violently.” Later that day, a stronger 6.0 earthquake rattled the city. “I was outside when [it] hit and I had to hang onto the fence to stay standing up. My neighbors all came outside and we were checking on each other then the gardeners came running around to see if we were alright,” she later added.
The worst damage, it seems, has been psychological. Many adults and children experience vertigo and screamed while the ground shook. People don’t know what to expect; many wonder whether this was simply a ‘oncer’ or the beginning of another string of earthquakes. “It's sad for the people of Christchurch,” teacher Malcolm Jury relayed to Canyon News. “It had already been such a difficult year and to have quakes again right, at Christmastime!”
“My niece and nephew hate them—one of them screams every time one happens, and then says he'll try to be brave next time,” Thomas continued. “A lot of the kids in town will need counseling, they think. They're not sure of the long term effects on them,” she added. Many reopened shops, including those in the town, have been forced to move their operations to storage containers, following the architectural damage.
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