Thursday, September 9, 2010

Video Blog - New Zealand Earthquake

Oh, I am having so much fun playing with Google Video Chat! All our kids have it now at university, so we can talk to them for free. They can call us with the calling feature for free. I bought a new Logitech Pro 9000, for my Linux computer, but Debian 64 bit has a nasty bug, and with 64 bit Flash being killed, I don't see any hope. I hooked it on the very old XP computer, and it works very well.

But I digress. This got me back into video, and the thought of how horrible I am on camera! No wonder those tv people didn't want me! I need a vocal coach! :) But since I don't have a hope in hell to get on regular tv, I am doing video blogs. Even if I were a perfect announcer, I would never get on tv, since the producers always go to the top of the Academic Old Boys Club, and I think these guys are not on this planet! :) Anyway, I do these to try to improve. Who knows? Maybe one day we'll have our earthquake, and I can gloat! :)


Anonymous said...

You say no building could withstand a "fist of God" pulse. How do you think our wood framed two story houses would do in an M7. What about all those reinforced concrete shear wall condo Towers in downtown Toronto sitting on bedrock.

Harold Asmis said...

I am always amazed at how loose and flappy the new buildings seem to be. Some of those things would not do well in a fling ground motion. Maybe they would stay up, but something's coming out of those windows!

I would blame this on the wrong physics of the shake table, and the assumption of sinusoidal motion. Nevertheless, the really big towers are on solid bedrock, and you would probably only lose your lunch!

The smaller buildings on raft foundations, on soft soil -- ??

Matt Carter said...

Hi Harold

I'm in Canterbury, New Zealand and experienced the earthquake. You have made some very outlandish claims in this video. Hopefully I can clarify the information that you have and give you a better perspective of this earthquake.

The earthquake did feel very vicious. I was sleeping at the time and was woken up immediately. While getting out of bed the force made it very difficult to stand and I have heard stories of people getting knocked of their feet. Both the dresser and bookcase in my bedroom were knocked over. The noise was also very loud and similar to a train coming towards me. Your claim that it wouldn't wake up California is ridiculous.

I do agree that this earthquake is in a unique flat and soft area and that it may have helped minimise the damgage. However I do believe that you have underestimated the power of this quake. There is no way that the impact was the equivalent of a 5.5. The fault slipped at least a few meters from what I have heard reported. Are you aware that there was a 5.4M foreshock before the 7.1 quake?

The building codes on the buildings and houses built it the last 40 years are very good. A large number of Historical buildings have been strengthened over the last 20 years and because of this they have only sustained minor damage. The "crappy" buildings that have been severely damaged were very old and had not yet been strengthened.

Please check out these links for more information:

Canterbury Geologist Mark Quigley's blog:

Some Pictures:

A map showing the hundreds of aftershocks:

Local news coverage of the quake:

I'm sure they will give you a better insight and I will be interested in your thoughts now that you know more.

Have a good day,

Harold Asmis said...

Yeah! I get a response! I am just going by the recorded strong ground motions. Really, to get up to a California Northridge, your bed should have rolled across the room, and all the furniture knocked down.

ps. Outrageous Claims R Us! :)

Matt said...

I'm going to ignore your snide remarks for the meantime.

I do agree that the power of the quake is "overated" in terms of the force that hit Christchurch City. We are very fortunate that the city was not hit harder. Christchurch is 50km away from the epicenter. Many other areas of Canterbury recorded higher movement.

Are you only looking at the recorded ground motion of Christchurch? A PVG of 58 was recorded in my hometown of Rolleston. Which is 20km from the epicenter and appears to be smack bang in the middle of this new fault.

See this data:

I do understand your point that the movement was relatively small for a 7.1 quake. But saying that it was feeble is ridiculous.

Anyway, I never knew Earthquakes could be so fascinating :)

Matt said...

oops, Here's the working link:

Harold Asmis said...

I'm not surprised by the high PGV's at some spots, since the soil was literally thrown around. I am quite interested in the low values among the mess. Are there pockets of firm ground after all?

Anyway, I've got all of NZ mad at me, so it's time to move on. :)