Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Another huge earthquake in Christchurch [updated . . .]

Another huge earthquake in Christchurch: major damage to already weakened Christchurch buildings; power down, water, sewerage and gas mains broken; the hospital evacuated [UPDATE: not completely back online]; brand new council building failed (again); the tower down on the Cathedral; and unlike the original quake which hit when everyone was at home, this time everyone is at work—or was.

This is going to be bad.

Keep up on Twitter and Twitpic with the #eqnz tag:

Word is that if you have friends or loved ones in Christchurch you’re better to text than phone. [UPDATE: Please don’t clog up phone lines unnecessarily. Vodafone & Telecom want people off mobile network across ALL NZ.]

Feel free to post what you know in the comments.

UPDATE 1: This is how the Cathedral looks:

245876552 (1) Source: Twitpic


  • TV3 is showing a four-story building collapsed into one: the columns having given way, and the building pancaked. Complete disaster. [Confirmed as the Pyne Gould Guinness Building on Cambridge Terrace, in which up to 200 people were inside—many being rescued as we speak.]
  • Provincial Chambers Building also thought to have collapsed.
  • 2 buses in the CBD crushed. Casualties unknown.
  • Vodafone wants people off mobile network across ALL NZ.
  • Photo stream of quake damage from the Herald website:http://bit.ly/eTSioT
  • GNS says ground acceleration was a full 1G, against 0.8G for Sept = 25% higher speed of movement at ground level. 1G of acceleration is akin to turning a building on its side and trying to support it by its “feet.”  This is why columns collapse.
  • From TVNZ, Pyne Gould Building appears from about 2:00 in:


  1. I got a text from Gab who is down there for 3 days (till tomorrow - ie, Wed eve ) and that's how I knew about the quake. I texted back with a message and say to find Peter S if he's still alive (hehe). I believe that the Physics Department's building there @ Canterbury University is pretty much safe.

  2. The following article may be of interest to engineers, physicists, mathematicians, earthquake experts and may be to the general public as well. It is a bit technical but it is still informative (if one can just read it but avoid formula derivations).

    Unified scaling law for earthquakes

    Scaling laws is a well established physics concept that has found many applications not only in natural physical phenomenon such as earthquakes, polymer formations, molecule transportation, etc, but also in economics and social science. The concept also seems to be universal.

    No one knows when an earthquake can strike, however one can use the concept of scaling laws to roughly estimate the probability of when an earthquake is going to strike, ie, the concept is useful in earthquake risk management.

  3. Spoke on the telephone with the architect Peter Beaven. His studio office was in the old Canterbury Provincial Chambers. He had just walked from the stone masonry part and was in the wooden sector of the building when the shake occured. The stone section came down behind him. He stated the Victorian buildings of central Christchurch appear to be a loss, and many up to the 1940's

  4. After the constant shaking and bouncing since September some of the newer buildings in the city seem to have failed along with the older ones, It will be interesting to learn how those buildings constructed in the past 20 years are. I suspect that engineering and architectural standards ought see them survive but 5 months of nearly constant aftershocks must have had an effect.


  5. This can be used to find missing persons:


  6. The Salvation Army has been doing good work in Christchurch since September's quake, and now they really need people's support big time. This atheist has just donated to their appeal on:



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