On 3 February 1931 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand – particularly hitting the town centres of Napier and Hastings. It remains the worst natural disaster ever to strike New Zealand in historic times – despite some doubt as to the precise casualty figure, it was still 50 percent more than the … More It’s 85 years since the Hawke’s Bay quake and we still don’t know how many died
I never fail to boggle at the convenience of social media. Even as the southern hemisphere is swathed in a wet and dark winter, a friend of mine on tour in north Sweden has been extoling the experience of the midnight sun on Facebook. More a sort of taunt, really, for those of us stuck … More It’s winter in New Zealand. I blame Earth’s axial tilt.
This week’s news that a previously unsuspected magnitude 8+ mega-quake could hit central New Zealand and then douse the place with tsunami isn’t too surprising to me. I wrote the most recent pop-sci book on our earthquakes. It was published by Penguin Random House last year. While I was writing the book I had a chat … More And now Kiwis are facing a potential mega-quake and tsunami. But of course…
Another iconic building in my home town, Napier, New Zealand, bit the dust a while back. The Williams building – 103 years old – survived both the devastating 1931 earthquake and fire that followed. Now it’s gone down before the wrecking ball. And a good thing too. You see, it apparently only met 5 percent of the … More When ethics overcome history
This morning’s severe earthquake in Canterbury – initially thought to be magnitude 6.4 but since revised to magnitude 6.0 – centred 30 km west of Arthur’s Pass – is a reminder that these things are constantly with us in New Zealand. You can’t expect anything else, living on the edge of the Pacific Rim of Fire. Some 635 fault lines have … More Canterbury quakes a reminder of the coming Alpine Apocalypse
This weekend’s tragedy on Japan’s Mount Ontake reminds us that life around the Pacific ‘rim of fire’ is often risky. That string of tectonic plate collisions stretches around the whole circumference of the Pacific and has shaped life in many ways. It was cause of the 2011 tsunami that devastated eastern Japan. It gave the US Yellowstone. … More Forecasting New Zealand’s seismic apocalypse
A major earthquake rattled much of the southern North Island of New Zealand during the early hours of Tuesday morning – magnitude 5.5. It woke Kiwis from southern Hawke’s Bay to Wellington and was classed as ‘strong’ by our seismologists. Luckily nobody was hurt, and no damage was reported. Good news in a land where … More Living on shaky ground – out this week