Wednesday, January 4, 2012

AC/DC jokes will get you fired for life

At about 10 pm on January 1st, I felt my first earthquake of the trip.  And then I felt about a billion more.  Between midnight and 8am we had 21 of them, including two over 5.0 on the Richter scale. By noon on the 2nd the Christchurch area had experienced 36 earthquakes over the first 36 hours of 2012. There were 44 of them between 7pm on the 1st and 7pm on the 2nd.

welcome to my nightmare  

The first quake that woke me up around 1:30 in the morning was a big one, loud and violent. By the time the adrenaline wore off and I was able to fall back asleep, there was another one. And another. And another. Now, I'm a 4th generation California girl and a west coast lifer, so I'm not afraid of earthquakes. I am used to them as a constant threat. But let me tell you, that night was absolutely terrible. By the time we had the 5.48 magnitude quake at 5:45 in the morning, I was in tears. My first night in a new place after 24 hours of travel with the baby, and my husband in Antarctica? I didn't have a whole lot of coping power left in my nervous system.

I've already waited too long to write about this. I have lost the visceral recall, the way you do with childbirth and other traumatic events. It was so stressful for so long. The trouble with earthquakes is that you can't tell how bad they're going to get when they start. Every time you get a new one, there is the possibility it's going to be a bad one. You can hear these quakes before you can feel them, and I have become highly attuned to the sound. It makes me sick to my stomach.

It's been a relatively quiet couple of days on the seismic front, and we've been lulled into a false sense of security again. We had a 4.8 this morning, the first one over 4.0 in over 36 hours. DO YOU HEAR HOW CRAZY THIS SOUNDS? It's been 36 hours since we last had a significant earthquake and I'm telling you it's calm. But this is reality in Christchurch, and it has been since September 2010. They have had almost 10,000 earthquakes over the last 15 months. People are packing up and leaving town. I can't say I blame them - I have reserved the right to leave early if things get bad again.

If you're interested, you can follow the Christchurch earthquakes here and here. Or search for the hashtag #eqnz on Twitter.

1 comment:

Ei said...

Wow--I have a friend whose family lives out thataway, and she'd mentioned a few months back that the earthquakes had never stopped. I didn't realize they were STILL happening. Keep safe!