When The Earth Quakes!

I am a Wellingtonian, although not currently living in my home city, my Eldest Daughter does.  The city – and much of the North Island have been rocked by quakes this afternoon.  There were 29 in the space of 75 minutes, six of them classed as ‘severe’.

From the moment I found out about this substantial event I have been light headed and slightly woozy.  This is an unusual reaction for me, but it is the way I once reacted to the most severe quake I was ever in when I saw the concrete floor beneath my feet crack open and, in the shock, lost about an hour of time….. I was sixteen then, and though much time has passed by, the fear remains.

A children’s verse that I am very familiar with begins with the words ‘The earth is firm beneath my feet,’  When the earth beneath our feet becomes unstable I think we lose our most primal sense of security.   When all else fails us, we know the earth will still uphold us.

In the last two years we have had the tragedy of the Christchurch ‘quakes, when a beautiful city, [another place I once lived] was brought to its knees.  That city is built mostly on a large flat plain.  Wellington is a harbour city, surrounded by hills.  there is only one main arterial route in and out and right now the city is in chaos – not because buildings have fallen, but because, due to the number and severity of the quakes, the public transport system has been closed down.  For all we know my daughter’s partner may well be trapped on a road, in a traffic jam, beneath a hill or beside the ocean [or both] inching forward as the exodus of the city takes place.

I have just checked Geonet again and there have been another 30 quakes in the past hour and fifteen minutes – including a cluster of seven strong quakes with one ‘severe’ in the middle of them.   They began sometime after 2pm today and now as I write this it is 6pm, Friday 16th August, and my child and many of my friends are in danger.

The concern is that the continuous shaking weakens structures to the point that a light or mild shake will bring buildings and hillsides tumbling down.  I have never known so many, so close and so strong in my life time.

The Earth is changing, she is vulnerable and there are people who still want to continue raping her.  I have a bee in my bonnet about fracking – there are people here who are hell bent on continuing this practise despite the fact that there is proof it contributes to earth quakes.  In a country built on a fault line why in God’s name is it even considered?   I don’t understand the mentality that places instant wealth for a few ahead of the lives of millions of people and the life of our planet.

I am just venting and writing and praying that my family and friends are kept safe while the earth convulses.  That’s all.

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29 thoughts on “When The Earth Quakes!

    • Thanks Anne 🙂 It’s been quiet the last couple of weeks – still lots of quakes but they are little ones and often pass by unnoticed. Geonet tells us to expect more however, so just keeping everything crossed.

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      • Stay safe. I can’t imagine how stressful it must be to live with this possibility bubbling beneath your feet. : ))xox

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  1. Pauline, I’ve been reading in reverse order, so just now got through to this post. What an awful fright you’ve had. I can’t imagine so many quakes that close together. I live in California, so I’ve experienced my fair share, the worst in 1989 (7.1). Still, nothing compares to what you describe. Our state is also exploring fraking. Greed and power win the day. It is maddening. I hope your daughter, friends and family are doing okay. Please post an update when you can. xox Alys

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    • Thank you for this message Alys. It has been quieter this week, though quakes continue throughout the country, but clustered mainly in the same region. I just peeked at geonet and see we are averaging about 5 per hour, all but one categorised as ‘light’. [Mag.3 or under] But, as you are aware, geological time is so different to human time – the two destructive quakes that hit Christchurch were 5 months apart. So we all get on with our lives. I’ll post something if anything untoward occurs.

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      • Oops…fracking, not fraking. It sounds like the other freaking word and it should. Why do we continue to go in the wrong direction? We never seem to learn from our past.

        Since there is only a minimal amount of preparing you can do, you have to go on with your lives as you said. We have an earthquake kit, large furniture strapped to the walls and our artwork has plexiglass for safety. No beds under the windows except ours which has tempered glass. You just hope when the bigger ones hit, you’re in the right place at the right time.

        Many died in 1989 when the Bay Bridge collapsed. Wasn’t supposed to happen.

        Life is unpredictable, earthquakes are unsettling. Let’s garden, pet our kitties, eat chocolate, craft and blog! xox

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        • A resounding “Quite so!” to that last paragraph. Life Coach me [Positive Polly – another nick-name] would never allow a client to walk away feeling that worrying was a legitimate daily practise – I was unimpressed with how quickly I fell from grace on this when my child is involved! However, back in balance now, happily. I remember your 89 event and pictures of that broken bridge – it was unimaginable to me back then. And I assume that as an after effect of the events of the past two years, most Kiwi’s will have put some thought into proofing their homes and organising their survival kits …… It’s a balance between common sense and trust isn’t it!

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          • LOL…Oh yes, all bets are off when it involves our own children, eh? That made me smile.

            I’m glad you are back in balance.

            We learned a lot from the ’89 quake. I hope to avoid that level of intensity again. We had a scary 5. something about six years ago. I was at an event in an old building on the third floor. I impressed myself with my ability to completely drop any sense of decorum as I dropped and slid straight underneath a sturdy table. LOL

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    • Yes, my informants feel the same as you – it is so unnerving – and worrying does not help the situation! I met a number of Christchurch ‘refugees’ in the months following their event who were so obviously in PTS and only offered tranquillisers ….! My heart was broken! You look well prepared however, which is empowering! 🙂 Thank you for coming by 🙂

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      • Oh yes the quick and cheap fix – well on the surface.

        A family member has returned to the city today for the first time since she was stranded there last week so I hope her experience today will be a confidence booster. Good to know your informants are feeling a little “happier.”

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  2. Jah know Pauline, I’m hoping and praying your daughter and friends are kept safe through these quakes. Earthquakes are really scary especially at certain magnitudes and frequencies. I’m just hoping this is not a precusor for anything devastating. Praying for you and sending you some love and support.

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  3. I hope they are all well and safe. I grew up on the west coast, Peru. I know what it feels, but so many, one after the other, for sure must be scary. Feel better, keep us posted.

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    • Y’know, a lot of the Christchurch folk have untreated post traumatic syndrome because they went through a year of constant shaking …But it was relatively quiet over night and at least it’s the weekend so less people in those high rise offices and less people on the highways in and out of the city….. a few days respite!

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  4. Oh no! Sorry to hear your family is dealing with all this. I hope all we be ok. I feel the same about these giant corporations putting earth and lives at risk, it’s maddening.

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