Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Experiencing an Earthquake in New Zealand (2007)

On 15th October 2007 at 12.29pm an earthquake measuring 6.8 hit the south island of New Zealand 60 miles north west of Queenstown. At this time I must have been traveling by coach south towards Queenstown from Franz Josef glacier which I had climbed the previous day. Remarkably I did not feel the initial quake perhaps because I was on a coach but I did feel the after shock.

It must have been the early hours of the morning when I woke up in my bunk bed to find the entire room shaking. The bed frame was vibrating and swaying from side to side and the light fitting was rattling hard. Being from the UK where earthquakes are rarely even felt, I could not understand what was going on. I initially thought I was on a boat and the engine was running despite not having been anywhere near a boat in quite sometime. It took a couple of moments for me to come to and rule that out before an after shock crossed my mind. The rumbling lasted for a good minute before it stopped but not at any point did I think “oh my god it is an after shock, I’d better get out of bed”. I laugh at that now as I am sure New Zealanders are trained from an early age to run to the door frame.

The earthquake did inconvenience me slightly as it caused an avalanche on the road down to Milford Sounds but it could have been a lot worse. I am very pleased now that it did not hit when I was climbing along a crevasse on the Franz Josef glacier because if the ice had shifted then, I may not be here to tell the tale.

If you have experienced and earthquake or even the one last year in New Zealand, leave me a comment and let me know.

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At 19 November 2008 at 05:34 , Blogger Saadia said...


I'm from Pakistan, and my people have suffered a lot because of the Earthquakes. There was the October 2005 earthquake in our northern areas, at a scale of 7.6, which claimed about 80,000 lives, leaving thousands more homeless. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Kashmir_earthquake)

And last month, our province of Balochistan was struck with an earthquake of 6.4 magnitude, with a loss of lives of about 300; once again, thousands more left homeless. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balochistan_earthquake).


At 19 November 2008 at 13:17 , Blogger Alex @ The Travel Blurb said...

Hi, I checked out your links and it puts that New Zealand quake in perspective - the damage that I saw was not too bad but I cannot speak for all New Zealanders.

The UK had a big earthquake earlier this year (well, big for the UK anyway) and tiles fell off houses and trees came down. My house was OK.

I hope Balochistan remains earthquake free for a long time to come.


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