I was yet to experience an earthquake since moving from the relatively stable British Isles to the very active and shaky New Zealand landmasses, until now. Being a resident of this planet and observer of its processes, I always wanted to experience at least a small part of what it can offer, and my first earthquake didn’t let me down.
Casually relaxing on a Saturday evening with a beer in hand, items attached to walls and on shelves start to shake slightly before the floor and walls then start swaying more vigorously. So I did what I was told and skipped over to stand under an open doorway. The quake lasted about 10 seconds and was recorded to be of 5.3 or 5.7 Magnitude, which is able to damage buildings.
New Zealand is prone to earthquakes because of its location at a subduction plate boundary (which also produces the Southern Alps). There is some fear in Wellington because a significant earthquake is thought to be well overdue in the area and the country is still in shock from the surprise quake in Christchurch earlier this year. The epicentre of today’s quake was just south of Wellington in the Cook Strait and was the biggest recorded in the area since 1966. Strangely, it comes a day after numerous buildings in the country and in Wellington were reported unsafe with further quake assessments required.
And if you want to know more about the Wellington Fault (“New Zealand’s most dangerous geological hazard”) which runs straight through the capital, check out the video below: