Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood


The art of seismography

Seismography, n. 1. the science of detecting, measuring and recording ground vibrations, especially those from earthquakes.

True enough, but I'd like to propose a new sub-definition:

2. writing about earthquakes and their aftermath.

Even as the Canterbury earthquake slowly recedes from the front pages, there is some seriously excellent writing coming from the front lines. Here are a few must-reads, besides of course our own redoubtable Emma and David:

Harvestbird meditates exquisitely on How To Be Brave.

Cheryl Bernstein delves into the bittersweet Aesthetics of Earthquakes and shares Dispatches from an Earthquake Zone.

Moata Tamaira manifests an enviable sense of humour about the whole darn thing.

13 Things Mike Dickison Learned From an Earthquake, and his Aftershock Diary.

Adrienne Rewi always has amazing combinations of words and images, never more so than now.

Matthew Walker recounts the day of the earthquake, with photos.

Kalena's First Three Tweets project is a veritable haikai no renga of initial reactions.

For the scientific perspective, Dr Mark Quigley is the seismological ne plus ultra.

See also this discussion of the tectonics at Highly Allochthonous (great name! I am highly allochthonous too).

James Dann's Rebuilding Christchurch does exactly what it says on the box: "one brick, one word, one city" at a time.


Who am I missing? Please send any related links, and I'll fold them into this post.


If it's meta-critical writing about writing about earthquakes you're after, you'll have already noted Russell's report on the first reports from NZ and elsewhere. Philip Matthews follows up with a reflection on how -- and where, and why -- the news unfolded on the day: "Quake a Virtual Reality".

One of the upshots: we are all in the public domain now!


Lastly, for the tiniest taste of how abrupt and upsetting the continuous, random aftershocks can be, see this security-cam footage of the staff of C1 Espresso sussing out the shop (link courtesy of Cheryl Bernstein).

The jolt happens at about 1:08 -- now imagine how it must feel not to know that in advance.

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