Citizen's War Memorial outside Christchurch Cathedral (23 June 2017)

7 Years Ago, The City Fell

It's hard to believe that seven years have passed since my home city of Christchurch, New Zealand changed forever. On February 22, 2011, at precisely 12:51pm, an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale leveled the city. I kid you not.

For many other earthquake-ridden cities around the world, it took an earthquake of much greater magnitude to cause anywhere near the same level of devastation, but even then, it's not nearly every building in the CBD that needs to be demolished. Over 70% of the buildings suffered irreparable damage during that quake, continuing to stand only just long enough so people could get out. Some buildings didn't even do that. Whole suburbs, most of East Christchurch, needed to be abandoned and bulldozed to the ground — and because if it, we have a severe housing shortage, even seven years later. But what really makes Christchurch so unique is that we were already a broken city.

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New Episode: Earthquakes – The Earth’s Dance

Seven years on, and I'm still haunted by the 7.1 earthquake that rudely awoke me from my sleep on September 4, 2010. Each of us find ways to heal in different ways. For me, it's to look at the science behind what happened, and trying to explain to the world at large exactly what it was like to go through those frightening events.

On this month's episode of Conversations in Science, Jessie and I spoke about earthquakes and what happens.

Earthquakes: The Earth's Dance
(First aired on KLRNRadio, Monday, September 4, 2017)

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Earthquakes and Supermoons

Originally, I had planned an entirely different blog post for this week, something that had nothing to do with science, but sometimes life can change at the drop of a hat.

On November 14, 2016 at 12:02 am (New Zealand Time), an 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck 15 km north-east of Culverden. The coastal town of Kaikoura has been devastated, effectively cut off from any help, but they are not alone. The entire country felt this.

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Remembering the June 2011 Christchurch Quake

Today marks the fifth anniversary of two strong quakes that shook the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. On June 13, 2011, a 5.7-magnitude quake was followed by a 6.3 quake only a few hours later.

After a long string of quakes and aftershocks that had riddled our existence for nine months, it wasn't surprising that many of us were nonchalant about the events of that day, but as I look back at it now and realize how fortunate I was.

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Freddy the Flax in the Red Zone

Back in January, 2015, I asked for survivors of the Christchurch quakes to share their stories. The response was overwhelming. I was so touched by all the stories. In February, I was unable to share all the stories with my readers. However, now that we are approaching the fifth anniversary of the June 13th, 2011 quake, I felt it was prudent that I share with the world the remainder of those stories.

Below is a short story from Jennifer Wilson. We should give a thought to the ones who couldn't speak for themselves: the flora and fauna.

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