New Zealand earthquake

Lest anyone assume that earthquakes only devastate poor Third World societies, consider what has happened in New Zealand:

New Zealand’s prime minister says at least 65 people have died after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch.

John Key said the toll was expected to rise further, adding: “We may be witnessing New Zealand’s darkest day.”

The tremor caused widespread damage as it occurred at a shallow depth of 5km (3.1 miles) during lunchtime when Christchurch was at its busiest.

The mayor of New Zealand’s second-biggest city says 120 people have been rescued from the ruins.

The country’s deadliest natural disaster in 80 years struck at 1251 (2351 GMT on Monday), 10km (6.2 miles) south-east of the city. . . .

TV pictures of the aftermath of Tuesday’s disaster showed scores of collapsed buildings in the South Island city of nearly 400,000 people.

Shocked survivors could be seen wandering the rubble-strewn streets, which cracked open as the ground beneath was liquefied by the tremor.

Police said that the dead included people on two buses which were crushed by falling buildings.

via BBC News – New Zealand earthquake: 65 dead in Christchurch.

Pray for these folks.  And all of you Californians, aren’t you worried even a little bit?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • WebMonk

    I know someone who worked in NZ several years ago, and it is not at all designed with earthquakes in mind. Much better than Haiti, but still not up to the building standards of places like California and Tokyo.

    Why would California be worried? Because an earthquake happened on the opposite side of the world?

  • WebMonk

    I know someone who worked in NZ several years ago, and it is not at all designed with earthquakes in mind. Much better than Haiti, but still not up to the building standards of places like California and Tokyo.

    Why would California be worried? Because an earthquake happened on the opposite side of the world?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Gene,
    The Northridge Earthquake of 94 in California dwarfed this one in New Zealand. It is going to take a little more than that to scare Californians.
    My heart goes out to the New Zealanders. I think it will be interesting to see the recovery of New Zealand in contrast to that of Haiti though. I’m glad to see we are sending help. But I doubt they will need as much of it as some of the third world countries have needed lately.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Gene,
    The Northridge Earthquake of 94 in California dwarfed this one in New Zealand. It is going to take a little more than that to scare Californians.
    My heart goes out to the New Zealanders. I think it will be interesting to see the recovery of New Zealand in contrast to that of Haiti though. I’m glad to see we are sending help. But I doubt they will need as much of it as some of the third world countries have needed lately.

  • DonS

    Actually, I think most Californians are more cavalier about earthquakes than ever. I moved here in 1990, and we had a major earthquake in 1991 (6.3 in Santa Anita), two in 1992 (7.1 or so in Landers and Big Bear, about two hours apart), and the Northridge quake in 1994 (about 6.7 if I recall). These were all soon after the big World Series quake in the Bay Area in 1989. So we were pretty alert to the whole earthquake deal. However, we have had almost no activity since 1994. That means nobody under the age of 20 has any knowledge of earthquakes, to speak of. Preparation is at an all time low, imo.

    We will get smashed sooner or later, and it’s gonna be ugly.

  • DonS

    Actually, I think most Californians are more cavalier about earthquakes than ever. I moved here in 1990, and we had a major earthquake in 1991 (6.3 in Santa Anita), two in 1992 (7.1 or so in Landers and Big Bear, about two hours apart), and the Northridge quake in 1994 (about 6.7 if I recall). These were all soon after the big World Series quake in the Bay Area in 1989. So we were pretty alert to the whole earthquake deal. However, we have had almost no activity since 1994. That means nobody under the age of 20 has any knowledge of earthquakes, to speak of. Preparation is at an all time low, imo.

    We will get smashed sooner or later, and it’s gonna be ugly.

  • SKPeterson

    Christchurch is slightly off from the main earthquake zone, so its building designs may not fully implement all of the latest earthquake protections, but Wellington, the capital is the epicenter of earthquake activity in the nation and does have the modern earthquake building designs. It should be noted that such considerations are not universal in L.A. or Tokyo either. A similar quake could just as easily do as much damage.

    Also, I note that Christchurch experienced a larger earthquake about 6 or 7 months ago, but it was centered much deeper. This one was much closer to the surface, so Nature can often trump engineering design under the right conditions. Judging by depth and severity, Christchurch has come off fairly well, even if the death toll climbs into the hundreds.

  • SKPeterson

    Christchurch is slightly off from the main earthquake zone, so its building designs may not fully implement all of the latest earthquake protections, but Wellington, the capital is the epicenter of earthquake activity in the nation and does have the modern earthquake building designs. It should be noted that such considerations are not universal in L.A. or Tokyo either. A similar quake could just as easily do as much damage.

    Also, I note that Christchurch experienced a larger earthquake about 6 or 7 months ago, but it was centered much deeper. This one was much closer to the surface, so Nature can often trump engineering design under the right conditions. Judging by depth and severity, Christchurch has come off fairly well, even if the death toll climbs into the hundreds.


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