Archive for September 4th, 2010

The New Zealand Earthquake: A Wooster Geologist Eyewitness Report

September 4th, 2010

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND–Andrew Collins is a Wooster geology student studying abroad at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Here is his account of Saturday morning’s earthquake:

Just got another tremor as I sat here writing! Certainly is active!

I don’t really know what to say! It was definitely an odd feeling being awoken at 4:30 am to violent shaking. My room’s on the third floor and hangs out right over the walkway, so my first instinct was to get out of there and move toward the support structure of the building. I had a pretty hard time walking down the hallway – eventually I just gave up and sat on the couch and waited for it to subside, at which I point I got dressed and left the building.

I went downtown with one of my flatmates and took these pictures. It was a bit of a mess. We managed to get there before the police had closed off everything, so we got to go some places we probably shouldn’t have. Cars were crushed; facades had been torn from buildings and had basically fallen face-first into the street; fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances were going every which way; and bulldozers were being unloaded off flatbeds at every street corner. It definitely seemed a bit like a dream. I guess the most important thing is that nobody got killed. That’s pretty incredible when you figure that Christchurch is a city of 315,000 sitting on loose soil at the edge of the Pacific Ocean (sounds like a certain other city prone to earthquakes, no?).

(Another tremor)

The ground hasn’t actually stopped moving since the earthquake (it’s been about 32 hours now). It’s constantly trembling and then every once in a while there’s a noticeable aftershock (between 3.0 and 6.0 – most probably between 3 and 4).

Shopfront in Christchurch, New Zealand.

(Andrew Collins will be adding more text and images about the earthquake to his blog later this week. We are very pleased that he is doing fine, and our thoughts go out to the Christchurch community as they begin their recovery.)

Wooster Geologist Experiences New Zealand Earthquake — Story Will Follow

September 4th, 2010

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND–Wooster geology student Andrew Collins is studying abroad in Christchurch, New Zealand, this semester and was there during the 7.1 magnitude earthquake early Saturday morning. He is fine and I hope will be able to send us his story and some photographs later. We have two earlier posts from him about his New Zealand field experiences with amazing karstic weathering and basalt exposures.

Although this powerful earthquake produced “significant damage“, there are no reports yet of any deaths. It appears to have been an unusually complex tremor — maybe three earthquakes in quick succession. Andrew can tell us how it felt as the jolts woke him up. We are very pleased he is OK.

New Zealand earthquake map from the BBC (September 4, 2010).