Saturday, September 25, 2010

Two Weeks Without Shaking

Australia has many attractions, and one of them is the fact that it is not centred right over the junction between two major tectonic plates. So I was very glad that a few months back we had booked a holiday there. (New Zealand on the other hand, was described by one of my offspring as "a fault line with a sprinkling of topsoil on it".)

We flew out on the Friday and arrived in Sydney where we spent the night. And it didn't seem as strange as I had expected that the earth didn't do a little dance every couple of hours or so. After all, if the aftershocks are coming every two hours, that's two hours without any shaking which is exactly like that same two hours in Australia. But the next day we went to the supermarket to stock up on supplies for our drive north, and I thought "something looks strange". Then I realised, oh yes, all the shelves are full. (Apparently 95 million dollars worth of damaged food and beverages ended up in the landfill here). The second strange thing was seeing newspapers without "Earthquake Edition" plastered all over the front page.

We had great weather, mostly in the low twenties but it felt warmer because we are just coming out of winter and Christchurch is distinctly cooler in winter than northern New South Wales. We had a very relaxing time, apart from the return flight home - that is, not so much the flight itself but the drive to the airport, check in, customs and immigration procedures etc. It was getting towards 1 a.m. when we arrived home, then I started catching up on e-mails, headed to bed just after two, and slept very well until I was woken by a slightly more than gentle rocking just before nine thirty. When I was fully awake, I thought "was that an earthquake or did I dream it?" And yes, it was another aftershock. They are thinning out. So no more until late afternoon/early evening when we had about five within a couple of hours. My daughter headed to the geonet website to check up on them and found they were rather smaller than we had thought. Since she has been getting very good at the "guess the magnitude" party game, she then put the coordinates into google maps to check out the location. And one of them had it's epicentre precisely three blocks from our house. Well, OK, then. Obviously my welcome home party.

D comments on her blog:
Anyway and then I took my bus, which drove me home right over the epicentre of that 4.0. Is this or is this not pretty cool? I bet none of you has done anything this cool today!

Holiday reports and photos to come.

1 comment:

Joan said...

Welcome home Catherine. I wish I could say welcome home to no more shakes. So glad you had a good holiday and some respite. I did laugh at 'a sprinkling of top-soil' on a fault line. In the night i heard someone on the radio saying there is a TV doco on Wednesday night about Auckland and it's sleeping volcanoes. Shaky isles indeed. Mother nature is showing us who's boss this spring. I hope she's happy we've had enough quakes, floods, snowstorms...