New Zealand’s had another earthquake

Broken eggs
Feeling a bit like this this morning.

Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt our usual programme for this unscheduled blog post.

I’m a rules kind of person myself, but I try not to impose my rules on others. Even to me, it seems a bit unreasonable to expect everyone else to drink the same coffee every day and sit on the same side of the table. (As long as I get my usual coffee and sit on the proper side of the table I’m happy.)

But I do have one rule that I’d like to insist on, especially in light of last night’s events.

The ground should not move.

Honestly, it upsets me enough when things on top of the ground move. When the ground insists on lurching all over the show, it makes me want to pack up and go home until everyone agrees to play nicely.

Last night I was already home. I was in bed and happily asleep when a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck.

It always surprises me how quickly one goes from “hey, that’s my unicorn, give it back”, to “rats, there’s an earthquake, is it big enough that I need to get out of bed?”

Last night, the answer was decidedly “yes”. As I found out later, it was in fact two earthquakes that considerately decided to strike at almost exactly the same time. I say considerately, because it meant I had time to get to “cover” (though I’m not convinced a doorway is actually a safer place to be than a bed) before the stronger quake hit.

It was a smooth earthquake, and felt very much like being on a small boat and being hit by the wake of a larger boat. A larger speed boat propelled by rockets. I swear the house was actually trying to throw me out. The shaking lasted two minutes.

The electric toothbrush fell over, but it still works so I think we came through fairly well. (There are some cracks in the paint at the edge of the ceiling, but I’m pretty sure they were there before.)

Oh, and we lost power, which I discovered means my alarm doesn’t go off. Still, at 5:30am with no electricity or internet access, I was faced with the difficult decision of whether to try to head into town to work.

It’s times like this when you realise just how many wind-up radios you have, most of which claim to also charge cellphones, but none of which fit the charging socket of your cellphone. You also realise that you can’t find your favourite wind-up radio, the one with the solar panel. (Is it sad that I have a favourite?)

My radio(s) worked. Civil Defense told me not to go to work. As excuses go, that’s even better than a note from your doctor.

Having decided not to go to work, and still without power, my husband and I were faced with the difficult problem of how to make coffee. My gas cooker for tramping came to the rescue and, surrounded by chickens (don’t ask), I sat outside and boiled water.

Ah, the relief of coffee!

The aftershocks are still coming thickly. Every time I feel one I tense and wait to see if it gets strong enough to chase me to a doorway. None have yet.

I’ve learned a few things from this earthquake that I’m sure every Christchurch survivor already knows. They’re not kidding when they say keep a torch within reach beside your bed. And tinned soup in your survival kit is well and good, but you should also prepare for those times when what you really need is chocolate.


Go to Stuff to read about the quake and keep an eye out for ways you can help. A lot of the country is much worse off than us, and two people are confirmed to have been killed. My thoughts are with their families, and all the families and communities that have been affected by this disaster.

If you live in an earthquake-prone area yourself, there’s no time like the present to get prepared. The NZ Earthquake Commission has some good information, or check out the equivalent agency in your own country.

Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

18 thoughts on “New Zealand’s had another earthquake”

  1. I’ve experienced one earthquake–a measly 3.4–and that was quite enough, thanks. Glad your toothbrush came through this one okay.

  2. I saw the news and thought of you! This is scary and quite frankly I hate them too. I’m not used to them, but found a way to move by the San Andreas fault. It scares me to death. I’m taking the advice for sure!

    I hope you and your loved ones are safe and you’re not facing too much damage. My prayers go to all the people affected by this disaster.

    Take care!

    1. Sometimes I think the only way to live in an earthquake zone is to get prepared and then not think about it. Especially when you’re surrounded by brick buildings. Luckily my friends and family are all safe this time, and our house stood up fine.

      I’ve added some better earthquake preparedness information than my chocolate advice (which I stand by). I hope you never need it!

  3. So glad to hear you’re okay! Didn’t realise how bad it had been til I got online this morning.

    Used to get fairly regular judders when I was living in Tonga, as well – they like to throw up new islands every now and then, which is always interesting for navigation. You never get used to it, though – you’re quite right, many quirks can be accomodated, but the earth moving (in the literal sense) is not one of them!

    Stay safe and glad the chickens are happy, too.

    1. New islands! That’s one I haven’t heard of.

      The chickens are very happy, I was just concerned for a while that they were going to stick their beaks into the naked flame.

  4. I’m glad you’re okay! My rule of thumb from when I was living in California was that if an Earthquake is big enough to wake you up, it’s big enough to get out of bed for. And keep your shoes close by, where you can find them even in the dark, with everything off the shelves. I’m sure things will settle down, soon.

    1. Thanks, Karen. Keeping shoes close is definitely a good idea. Having to evacuate in bare feet over broken glass in the middle of winter is not a happy experience.

      I wake up pretty easily, so if I’d jumped up every time I felt an aftershock I would have been up and down a dozen times that night. If it goes on more than a few seconds and the roar gets louder I do get up, though.

      I didn’t wake up once for an aftershock last night, so I was pretty happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I’m really glad to hear you’re ok. It’s been in the news here as well and I thought of you!
    I can’t imagine what it must be like to live in a part of the world where earthquakes actually happen. I wouldn’t even know what to do in an earthquake.

    Stay save!

  6. I live in the UK, so we don’t get many earthquakes. (I think I’ve lived through one quake. It was so tiny that I didn’t even know it happened until they told us about it on the news).

    I can’t imagine going through one that shakes the entire house! Glad to see you decided not to go to work, though. I would’ve taken the whole month off due to PTSD.

    Take care! And if things get too tough, move to the UK.

    1. Thanks, Daniel.

      I think PTSD was a problem for some people after the Christchurch earthquake. I can certainly see how it would be. I wasn’t in Christchurch when they had either of their big earthquakes, but I was there for a while between them when there were a lot of aftershocks. For months after I left I tensed up every time I heard a truck go by (which sounds and feels similar to a small aftershock).

  7. I’ve been taking a break from watching news so I missed this completely. I’m so glad you’re okay! I’ve never experienced an earthquake so I can only imagine how scary it must be.

    1. I almost never watch the news, so I understand that. (Why are all the stories so horrific or depressing?) You’re very lucky to have never been in an earthquake, or you picked a sensible country to be born in.

  8. The most notable earthquake I was in was somewhere around a 5, but I had no idea when it happened. I was stationed up in Alaska and I was working in a junky, old truck on the flight line. The thing bounced and bobbed all on its own, so when everyone started going nuts over the radio, I was rather disappointed I seemed to have missed it. My wife, on the other hand, was at home and she said the whole unit shook and it was very unnerving.

    I’m glad you ended up being okay. (Yeah, yeah… I’m reading some of your old posts. ๐Ÿ˜› )

      1. Haha! I’ve been in others, but they were either smaller or further away. The Northern Lights more than made up for it. I loved living in Alaska. It seems like a lifetime ago. Ah, memories.

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