Earthquakes continued

News coverage of the earthquakes is slowing down, as are the earthquakes, but there are still many shakes.

5.30am update: 9 earthquakes in last hour, 238 earthquakes in last 12 hrs (only 2 over M4) and 3646 earthquakes since the M7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake

The pattern is the same, scattered along the Hope fault line where the initial quake was, and clusters around Kaikoura and Seddon.

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That looks very similar in pattern and number to yesterday morning. There are still some sizeable shakes (for those close enough to feel them).

There’s a few reaching up into Wellington and also another near the Alpine faultline.

The bigger shakes over the last day and a half:

  • 3.8 (moderate) 10:11:48 pm 5 km north-west of Seddon
  • 4.6 (strong) 2:30:10 am 20 km west of Kaikoura
  • 3.8 (moderate) 3:21:22 am 5 km north-west of Culverden
  • 5.0 (strong) 3:22:58 am 20 km north-east of Cheviot
  • 4.4 (moderate) 4:17:32 am 15 km south-east of Seddon
  • 4.8 (strong) 4:55:34 am 25 km east of Hanmer Springs
  • 4.2 (strong) 4:08:10 pm 20 km north-east of Kaikoura

They mightn’t seem much but to those feeling them they are repeat reminders of what is still going on beneath them. I’m sure some aree wondering with each one if it is going to be an anticipated big aftershock.

Stuff interactive: The Mountains Moved 14.11.16

Stuff: Timeline of the 7.8 quake and response reveals plenty of room for improvement

The huge earthquake that hit New Zealand this past week, buckling roads, uplifting sections of coastline and killing two people, also exposed problems in how the country monitors its earthquake risk and prepares for tsunamis. And it raised questions about whether the city of Wellington put people at risk by reopening buildings too soon.

The nation was spared the devastation of five years ago when 185 people were killed in the Christchurch earthquake. But some consider it was more by luck this time than by good planning.

Here’s what happened, minute by minute, after the quake hit early Monday, with details on how officials intend to improve

RNZ coverage:

Aid convoy forced back

A large convoy of army trucks carrying urgent supplies used the rural road yesterday, but Civil Defence said there was still a significant threat of landslides.

Military vehicles could not longer use the inland road because of the threat of more slips.

One aid convoy arrived in Kaikoura last night, but a second had to turn back.

Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said the route would like open in the middle of next week.

The earthquake aftermath in pictures

RNZ visual journalist Rebekah Parsons-King has captured the cracked roads, landslips, and damaged railway lines from the air and ground, after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit early on Monday morning.

Cordon in Wellington CBD to be reduced

One of the cordons in central Wellington will be reduced, as city authorities defend the handling of the risk of quake-damaged buildings in the capital.

 

 

Tough outlook for earthquaked towns

The towns worst affected by this week’s earthquakes are having to deal with massive problems with damaged houses and wrecked infrastructure.

One of the biggest problems facing their recovery will be business, and that is affected substantially by inaccessibility due to wrecked roads, especially in Kaikoura.

Getting good access from the south will be difficult enough (a rough inland road for emergency access only has been opened) but getting a through road will be a major challenge.

kaikouraroadslip

One of a number of landslides blocking the Kaikoura coast road.

RNZ: Kaikoura fears becoming a ghost town if State Highway 1 ‘lifeline’ stays closed

Kaikoura business owners say the town could die once the relief runs out, and only reopening State Highway One will save it.

SH1, the main route to Kaikoura from the north and south, is closed. It sustained significant damage, with cracks, fissures and landslides. The New Zealand Transport Agency said restoring full access would take several months.

Damage to sea life, the fisheries industry and wildlife will affect the town’s biggest tourists attractions, such as whale watching, dolphin encounters and the seal colony.

Kaikoura will be badly affected without tourism. They are certain to lose this summer’s trade.

Dwayne Fussell owns Coastal Sports. He has lived in the town for 15 years and is raising a family.

The town’s businesses were seasonal. They made money over summer and struggled through winter, he said.

“If you don’t make that [money] through the December, January months, you’re not here the following summer.

Only reopening SH1 would bring the visitors back, he said. If the tourists stayed away, the businesses would disappear.

“SH1 is our lifeline. We need it,” he said.

Unless the main highway is reopened right up the coast to allow through traffic – and months to repair it looks very optimistic – then Kaikoura is in trouble.

Even when the highway is reinstated they will require costly repairs and re-establishment of facilities. Some of the coastal fisheries and wildlife will have been badly affected by the earthquake, but it is unknown at this stage how the big draw cards, the dolphins and especially the whales will have been affected.

And even with facilities and roads restored they will have to overcome fears and a reluctance of tourists to venture down a very risky looking coastline.

Hamner Springs is another town reliant on tourism. Even though they weren’t far from the first earthquake epicentre the town was remarkably unscathed and has reopened for business, but through a combination of fear of more earthquakes and a lack of coastal through traffic they are suffering.

Newshub: Hanmer Springs a ‘ghost town’ – business owners

Hanmer Springs businesses are desperate for tourists to visit after a large drop in numbers following Monday’s 7.8 magnitude quake.

The quake was centred about 25km southeast of Hanmer Springs, but despite its proximity, the village suffered very little damage.

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa general manager Graeme Abbott says there’s been a noticeable drop in visitors.

On a “normal day”, he would expect between 500-600 visitors, but on Tuesday he only had around 150.

“It’s gradually climbing up but still nowhere near what we would usually expect,” Mr Abbott says.

“The reality is we had a major earthquake here and power outages and road closures so people couldn’t get here, but that’s all cleared up now.”

Mr Abbott says there is no need for people to stay away from Hanmer Springs.

“The village is undamaged. All the businesses are open.”

In time it mightn’t be so bad for Hamner as the detour south runs near them – in fact it might improve things for them as tourism flows pick up.

But Kaikoura especially, and other towns and regions on the coastal route like Cheviot and the Waipara wine region to the south will find business tough for a year or two at least.

To the north some Marlborough vineyards and wineries were damaged by the earthquakes, and the Picton to Christchurch detour route that goes nearly to the West Coast and back across Lewis Pass, bypasses Blenheim so they are also likely to be affected there.

It’s interesting to see Google Maps and the AA Route Finder showing the detour rather than the munted coast road already. The detour extends the normal 350 kilometre trip to 480 km, and obviously misses all the coastal scenery.

Other regions will probably benefit, but the affected towns and area will struggle to survive as they were.

Earthquakes – Wednesday update

The earthquakes are continuing, now generally fewer and smaller, often seeming in pairs near Seddon and Kaikoura, and at times in triplets with Culverden/Cheviot/Hamner Springs in the mix.

Geonet had an update at 4 am:

  • 23 earthquakes located in the last hour (Wednesday morning)
  • 278 earthquakes since 6 pm (Tuesday)
  • 1,492 earthquakes  since the M7.5 Kaikoura Earthquake (just after midnight on Monday).

Alan was in Hamner Springs when the M7.5 struck:

I was in Hanmer in a wooden Fraemohs chalet trying to fix my phone while my wife watched a TV movie when the first big 7.5 hit. I have to say the chalet was great – strong as a boat in a storm as we rocked and rolled. It was built on a good thick concrete pad and the interlocking beam walls performed perfectly.

We had driven through the epicentre at Waiau that afternoon and stopped for a few minutes of course never guessing anything so drastic was about to happen there.

While it was happening I was standing back to a window which in retrospect although it had a heavy curtain was probably not a great idea but it was too far to get around the bed to the passageway while keeping my balance while it was like being on a yacht in a choppy sea with a howling wind.

The noise was like a train or a plane roaring past right outside.

I have heard people from Christchurch describe the bigger earthquakes as like a train roaring past right outside their house. I’ve never been close enough to a big one to hear one (I’m not complaining).

After that I could hear the aftershocks coming as a low frequency sound just before they started but my wife couldn’t. She hears higher frequencies better than me though.

Power went out in the middle of the quake and didn’t come back till midday the next day but the road out didn’t open till 4pm the next day.

Alan was lucky the road was openable. One of the remarkable things about these earthquakes, presumably mainly as a result of the huge M7.5, is the widespread destruction of roads – not just the huge slips on the Kaikoura coast but so many roads have been ripped apart, like this one in Waiau.

state-of-road-in-waiau-after-earthquake-supplied

There have been many movements of land, ripped apart, buckled and raised and lowered.

kaikouraseabedraised2

Aerial photographs show the seabed uplift north of Kaikoura – estimated to be between 2 – 2.5 metres – more at @TonkinTaylor – which also shows minor road slips.

Media seemed to obsess over the trapped cows yesterday morning – they were rescued – but now the poor paua are being pitied, raised out of the water and dying.

Newshub: Baby paua suffering terrible deaths in sun

It’s not just the thousands of exposed paua that are a high concern in Kaikoura – exposed baby paua are also dying by the hour.

The paua have now been exposed out of water for more than two days after the seabed was lifted nearly two metres out of the water by Monday’s 7.5 earthquake.

Paua Industry Council’s Storm Stanley says there’s a lot of worry for the tens of thousands of adult paua but people forget about the babies.

“What you won’t see are the smaller paua that live under rocks. They live under rocks until they’re about 16, 17 millimetres long before they come out again,” he says.

pauaraised

Nature can be brutal.  It’s tough on the paua and other exposed sea life on the fishing industry, but I suspect there are more pressing problems for most people to attend to.

RNZ have today’s key facts:

Rescue efforts in Kaikoura continue as helicopters and NZ and US defence force ships head to the quake-hit town with supplies.

Wellington is also dealing with the aftermath of Monday’s 7.5 magnitude quake, with a city centre building at risk of collapse.

As usual they are covering things extensively – see RNZ continues live online coverage here.

Geonet: M7.5 Kaikoura Earthquake: for more information read Latest Updates and Scenarios and Probabilities.

Damaged buildings in Wellington is becoming a big story of it’s own – that’s for another post.

Aaron Gilmore – dickhead unapologetic

An arrogant returning back bench MP appears to have made a dick of himself, and by association of National.

Aaron Gilmore has been back in parliament just a couple of months (he replaced Lockwood Smith on National’s list) but in his rise to excessive self importance his impact doesn’t look pretty.

Stuff report: Apology over MP’s flare-up in restaurant

Sources close to the Heritage Hanmer Springs hotel said Gilmore called a waiter a “dickhead”, handed over his business card and made a comment along the lines of “Don’t you know who I am? I’m an important politician.”

Gilmore then insulted the waiter, the source said.

This happened when Gilmore was in Hanmer Springs attending the National Party’s mainland region conference.

But it is not Gilmore who has apologised, it was a friend who was with him and seems to have been embarrassed by his behaviour.

A lawyer friend of Christchurch-based MP Aaron Gilmore was so embarrassed by the politician’s behaviour after a bottle and a half of wine that he wrote an apology to hotel staff.

Riches last night confirmed he left the note for the waiter, saying he did so because he felt Gilmore had been “a bit rude” and he felt “a bit embarrassed by what happened”.

The Press understands the note apologised on behalf of Gilmore for his “appalling” conduct and congratulated the waiter on his professionalism.

Not a good look for Gilmore, nor for National. Gilmore’s response has not helped his case.

However, the National Party backbencher yesterday called the incident a “misunderstanding” and denied he used his position as a politician.

While “some inappropriate comments might seem to have been made”, they had been apologised for, he said.

Weasely words, not denying it but not accepting any responsibility for his own behaviour – it wasn’t Gilmore who apologised for that.

Gilmore told The Press restaurant staff had unfairly blamed him for the behaviour of the whole group, and there was “no story” in what occurred.

He said he had apologised to the hotel staff after two members of the dining party became “grossly intoxicated”, with one needing to be escorted away.

However, he was “not aware” of being rude or making the alleged comments to the barman.

He could not be sure if he or another member of his party told the waiter to “stop being a dickhead” while discussing liquor-licensing laws.“I don’t know if that was said by me or another colleague. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me.”

He later said, “It may well have been me.”

However, he later retracted the comment.

Gilmore also said: “I can’t be 100 per cent sure of everything I say after having a bottle and a half of wine, but I think someone has misinterpreted what was said.”

Gilmore said he handed the barman his business card, so they could talk the next day if there were any more issues.

The comments at the restaurant must have been “a bit misconstrued”, he said.

Gilmore said he thanked hotel staff the next day, and told them the call to refuse to sell his group more alcohol was “fair enough”.

He said there was no mention of him having behaved poorly.

There is plenty of mention of that now. And he is trying to spread blame across the whole group – while there may be some justification for that he is avoiding dealing with his own behaviour.

Getting pissed is risky for a public figure, even for an obscure back bencher. Being an over important dickhead is a bigger risk.

This may sound worse than what actually happened.

But Gilmore’s fobbing off changing excuses are not helping his case. No matter how much of a dickhead he was, his handling of the ensuing attention he has attracted just increases the dickishness.

A bigger person would deal with this with an appropriate apology – a direct apology, not a “if anyone was inadvertently offended” weasel apology won’t repair all the damage but it will stop the dick erecting more of a low ranked reputation.

A spokeswoman for Key said his office had received no complaints from the hotel, but would look into any that were received.

“The prime minister expects the highest level of behaviour from his caucus,” she said.

Gilmore shouldn’t wait for the possibility this embarrassment will rise through the party channels, or he might find himself dropping off the bottom of the party list. If a decent apology is not already too late.