Monday, September 12, 2005

Feeling the earth move

"Did you feel that?" Is becoming a regular question at our house. Caught between two of the Earth's plates, New Zealand is rocked by an average of 15,000 earthquakes a year. Only about 150 or so of those are actually felt and far fewer actually cause any damage.

We felt one last night while watching a 9/11 documentary at home. According to the local authorities it registered 4.1 on the Richter scale and was centered off the coast just to the east of Napier. Felt a bit like a train passing under the house. Nothing really moved but we could feel vibrations. I felt a similar sensation about two weeks ago lying in bed after Paul was already asleep. That one registered 4.6.

People here are used to the quakes and public service announcements on radio and TV regularly advise people to make their homes quake safe by securing large objects and having emergency supplies at the ready.

Of course Napier was home to the deadliest quake in NZ history on Feb. 4, 1931 measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale. The city was then rebuilt in the Art Deco style for which it has become famous. We're hoping history doesn't repeat itself.

For more on quakes in NZ, see


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