Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Zealand Earthquake Apologies

Ah com'on! I really love you guys! There's nothing in this that Canada wouldn't do worse. I'm wearing my New Zealand t-shirt right now, and I really sympathize with people who lost their homes.

I was reacting mainly to the fact that this was the exact scenario for Toronto, and that youse guys were a bit too smug on the building code, and the 'vs. Haiti' thing. In reality, this earthquake didn't test the building codes.

Everything was unusual about this earthquake. It had a high magnitude, but low aftershocks, and the only real damage it did was to unsecured brick facades, which peel off at very low PGV's. That set me off!

Since I had no information on local ground conditions, I made my own assumptions. I think now you have a very soft shallow layer, and that any modern building would go through this with the foundation.

Regarding the insurance, I think the bureaucratic situation is such that you could insure a card house on jello, and slough it off to the Swiss. Perhaps this is brilliant? But I think it allows extremely weak situations to exist. Like people on a flood plain, you are now able to slap together your houses, and wait for the next earthquake.

Scientifically, I think they will find that this was a complex, segmented earthquake. It stills goes in my books as an "all hat no cattle" earthquake, in that the ground motions are very low for the magnitude. People should not immediately associate magnitude with PGV.

1 comment:

Harold Asmis said...

ps. I would have never done this to the Australians. They scare me with their crocodiles, and throwing helpless shrimp on the barbie! :)