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
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
New Zealand has been hit by three significant earthquakes in the last two days. Luckily not strong enough to do damage, and remote enough that even a larger shake would have been more nuisance than apocalypse. But they are a sharp reminder that we live on some very ‘shaky isles’. The next one might well bring tragedy.… More Why New Zealand doesn’t need to worry about a zombie 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
I’ve got three books being published between now and February. Here’s a preview of Living On Shaky Ground: the science and story behind New Zealand’s earthquakes. It’s being published by Penguin Random House on 26 September. My advance copy arrived a few days back. And after thirty years and over 50 books, I have to say that the… More Living On Shaky Ground
Monday was the provincial anniversary holiday in Wellington, New Zealand. Kind of cool – the provinces were abolished in 1876, but we still get the holiday. Around 4 pm the house began shaking – slowly at first and then quite violently. We get a lot of small quakes. This wasn’t one of them. In fact,… More Ever get that feeling of quake deja vu?