Thursday, November 12, 2009
NZ Power Station Really Does Have a Problem
This is scandal is really perking me up! From unknown sources, we have this map of recent epicentres around that canal I wrote about.
Under intense pressure from the utility, the little newspaper buggers have completely zapped the article, but I hope somebody can find it. Basically, this canal area has been riddled by earthquakes, with many new fault traces showing up all over the place. Suddenly, without word to any of the local workers, they decide to drain the canals. Que passa? These poor guys are caught trying to save the fish with their bare hands! A decent human being would have pre-netted before draining.
Ah, local geologist, who is very nice, deserves a high paying job, yada yada, is suddenly badly misquoted, and soundbited to death by the local media. Her point was that these things don't suddenly happen, and there must be a reason. Most likely, the canal has been split by earthquake faulting.
"Ah no! She is crazy!" cries the mouthpiece of the utility. "We don't even know what earthquakes are, so how can it be an earthquake?" Poor lady is mucked by having a mud wrestle with porcine people.
So, although they are attempting to squash all this, the internet is harsh. As a geotechnical engineer with many years of experience with these stupid canals and water tunnels, my scenario is this: They suddenly found themselves with less water at the gate than expected. The canal is on porous volcanic shit, and uses a fairly thin clay lining, under some sort of erosion rip-rap. It is very easy to rupture, and when it does, a lot of water leaks out, which is instantly shown at the gate. You drain the canal, but it is very nasty to find this sort of thing. I would suggest an electromagnetic survey, to try to find soggy bits.
Now, of course I could be all wrong, but when utilities play this game, I rise to the challenge, and make up the nastiest explanations.... :)