April 19, 2011

Posted by:

Leah Forsyth

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Why is the world shaking?

This Wednesday night we have a very special guest, Dr Hamish Campbell from GNS Science coming to speak on earthquakes. It seems of late you can’t watch the news without headlines of a natural disaster striking. From the safety of our couches we sit and watch these strangers have their homes, their schools, their churches washed away/reduced to rubble/ravaged by fire. But when we see the faces of our own countrymen pulling away rubble in a rescue effort it starts means something else.

Devastation from Christchurch’s February earthquake Auckland Museum

Devastation from Christchurch’s February earthquake

Earthquake talk with Hamish Campbell Auckland Museum

A country even as prepared for an earthquake as Japan is still vulnerable to the powerful shift of the plates

On Friday the 11th of March as I sat on the couch watching live the Japanese tsunami and the footage of the earthquake that preceded it, I suddenly felt this fear that the world was ending. There were stories rolling in that Japan as a land mass had shifted and the tilt of the world’s axis itself was affected. As a catastrophic thinker I of course I couldn’t help but think ‘is this the beginning of the end?’ How can we all sit at our desks and carry on when this could strike at any time? Why is the world shaking?

Seismic activity for the last 21 years in this Southern region

Seismic activity for the last 21 years in this Southern region

But are the earthquakes increasing? Are we somehow responsible? Is the earth crying out? According to Wikipedia there have been 1057 earthquakes which have measured from 5 to 9 on the Richter scale in 2011 alone. This is half of what 2010 experienced in total. Will we continue to have them at this scale? What does this mean?

Dr Hamish Campbell

Dr Hamish Campbell

To answer these questions and your own we will have Dr Hamish Campbell, Geologist from GNS Science come and help us make some sense of this world on Wednesday night at 7pm. Campbell will discuss the geological causes behind these natural disasters, whether there is any relationship between the events in NZ and Japan, the fallout effects of the quakes including liquefaction in Christchurch and what Aucklanders could expect based on the city’s geology. 

This country which is used in the world’s biggest budget films for its stunning location that will transport you to another time, this country with its breathtaking mountain ranges, its clusters of volcanoes, its hot geysers – this country has a life of its own. In fact it sits over two tectonic plates which have held a grudge with each other since long before our time. This beauty comes at a price.

Last night there was an earthquake that measured 6.4 on the Richter scale which occurred in the Kermadec Islands. All reports confirm the permanent residents of Raoul Island are fine. The quake took place 1100km off New Zealand and could felt by some on the north east coast. Could you feel anything?