Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Ready for the Big One?

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  • JackElder,

    On the basis of the comments here, it seems that a decent civil emergency is all NZ needs to push us over the line into a nation of practical gourmets.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    New Zealand is hardly likely to suffer a water shortage, being both pluvial and Plinian.

    If the water is contaminated with ash and acid rain, its plenty is somewhat moot.
    Auckland actually does have this somewhat covered, with many of the named mountains having been excavated and turned into gravity-feed water tanks that get filled during the night. They can have their inlets sealed, and then be drained into water tankers for distribution. Not sure what other centres have in mind for water supply in the event of massive disruption, though.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Alien Lizard (anag),

    I anticipate we'll end actually end up with this bunch of pathetic Lame-o's

    Maybe Auckland will get that noted Avenger Yellowjacket he started off as Antman and ended up as the Wasp - don't be deceived by other yellow jacketed impersonators (even if they are a WASP).

    The Arrrgh Complex • Since Jan 2010 • 158 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    a decent civil emergency is all NZ needs to push us over the line into a nation of practical gourmets

    With fava beans and a nice Chianti.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    The only social tool that remained fully working was facebook; my Chilean friends say that FB went into overdrive for both businesses and friends checking in and confirming their family/employees/friends status, relieving not just people but i would have thought also taking pressure off the telephone network.

    I have a friend in Chile right now and people were freaking out on her facebook page for her until someone posted that her brother had updated his page that they were fine. As soon as she got to Facebook she was like "I'm fine - oh, and a friend is selling his Pavement ticket if anyone's looking" - her casualness was all kinds of awesome.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    The Gourmands are coming! Lock up your anchovies!

    Now there's one for the list. And olives, stuffed, and in oil. The Mediterranean diet is supposed to have health benefits.

    Would it be too much to store carbonated water? Bit posh maybe.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • David Ritchie,

    Please don't tell me that is a quote from Te Papa.

    Mr. Theyounger is quoted extensively in the exhibit.

    Since Nov 2006 • 166 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    When that puppy blows, it's goodnight nurse, a metre of ash in Auckland and don't bother coming home from your OE, ever.

    It all hinges on whether the student loan computers are killed or not.If that data is wiped, I wager there will be at least a dozen folk returning to help with the clean up.

    If the water is contaminated with ash and acid rain,

    keep some of;

    *
    Bananas
    * Chocolate
    *
    Figs
    *
    Mineral water
    *
    Orange juice
    *
    Potatoes
    *
    Spinach
    *
    Watermelon
    *
    Dandelion Greens

    for handy neutralization.

    It's Friday; 'Weekend at Bernie's'

    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTU0Mzk4ODE2.html

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Christchurch is running an Intro to CD on Tuesday 7-9pm

    The big threat as we've experienced is Tsunami. Because it can happen anywhere and still hit these islands.

    Poor Auckland has a few Volcanos and the only good volcano is a dead volcano, but they never die.

    Now to remeber that crowbar for Plan B
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1957988/sublime_april_26_1992_rodney_king_riots/

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    I live in an area that has had a large tsunami rampage over it (in 1826 -17 years later, the first European through here noted "It looks like the sea has washed the foothills bare of vegetation.") We also get storm surges, floods and lagoon bar blockages (which can block the single road out.)

    Everyone living here has
    *a store cupboard (mine can feed 2 adults adequately for a month)
    *alternatives to line-electricity, whether generators or gas
    *water supplies, tools, medications if needed, and good first aid kits

    Course, in the event of the tsunami arriving, we will have left most of that stuff behind...*

    We also have a community warning system, because radio reception can be problematic, and there isnt good cellphone coverage.

    Earthquakes and tsunami are the most likely disasters to get us - the chances of volcanic eruption are pretty well zilch.

    *My van is a moveable survival capsule (food, first aid kit,tools, clothes,water - oh and books, writing & painting gear, a whisky flask & chocolate!)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • craigm,

    Geonet website has the latest monitoring info on our volcanoes and earthquakes. Out of interest only half of Taupo is actually the volcano (the northern half). The southern half is the bit that fell into the hole left after the Oruanui eruption 26,500 years ago. This erupted around 500cubic kilometres of magma. (Mt St Helens in 1980 erupted only about 3 cubic km's). The 186AD Taupo eruption was about 30km cubed, and then there were another 26 odd smaller eruptions between these 2 big ones.....

    Taupo • Since Nov 2007 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Please don't tell me that is a quote from Te Papa

    Pliny the Elder died in the eruption, and Pliny the younger (a boy at the time?) wrote about it, according to my recollection of one of the panels at the Te Papa exhibition.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Kennaway,

    I've just been told I need a Seismic Strap...

    Not for your kids I hope? Sue Bradford made that sorta stuff illegal.

    sunny Pt Chevalier • Since Mar 2008 • 40 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    Our water is drawn from a spring fed stream up the back of the property. The house is smack bang in the middle of a sheep and cattle farm. The estuary across the road is chock full of shellfish and if worse comes to worse, the community would probably close the private access road and pool resources.

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I have some questions as I don't understand the physics. Can anyone explain seismology to me?

    There was enough energy released in the Chilean earthquake to destroy buildings and landscape over a large region, slosh the Pacific ocean around, and speed up the earth's spin. Where did this energy come from? Is it new energy? And where has the rest of it gone? Could the earthquake have been caused or influenced in severity by the gravitational pull of the full moon?

    I know earthquakes can influence animal behaviour, but I've also read on some blogs that some autistic people also sensed something around the time of the earthquake. What could be the explanation for this?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Yellowstone Park is quite similar. It has all the features of one of these 'flat' types of volcanoes, but for years geologists couldn't work out where the caldera was. Until the space programme started and they got orbital photos. Basically, the whole of Yellowstone is a volcano. A volcano so big, you can only see the whole thing when you're in orbit. Apparently it's overdue for another blow.

    I highly reccommend the joint BBC/Discvovery Channel docudrama Supervolcano, which not only has a really great scene demonstrating just how big the Yellowstone crater is (filmed on location), but excellent science. It will, of course, scare you shitless, but it should.

    Pliny the Elder died in the eruption, and Pliny the younger (a boy at the time?) wrote about it, according to my recollection of one of the panels at the Te Papa exhibition.

    Yep; the Elder died trying to evacuate people by boat. There is, not incidentally, another great BBC docudrama about this.

    (Yes, I am unnaturally fond of natural disaster movies. Even that awful volcano one with Pierce Brosnan. I took a lot of geology papers, okay?)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Pliny the Elder died in the eruption, and Pliny the younger (a boy at the time?) wrote about it, according to my recollection of one of the panels at the Te Papa exhibition.

    Yes. As soon as he heard of the eruption, Pliny the Elder organised an expedition to see it up close, and asked the Younger, his nephew, who was a young man rather than a boy at the time, to come with, but he wanted to continue other work that his uncle had set for him. He did however observe the eruption from a certain distance, and described it, and told the story of his uncle's death as it was told to him by some survivors. The account wasn't believed at the time, but it's so vivid and accurate that volcanologists now call Vesuvius-type eruptions Plinian.

    Those letters are a damn good read, there's a summary here.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    There was enough energy released in the Chilean earthquake to destroy buildings and landscape over a large region, slosh the Pacific ocean around, and speed up the earth's spin. Where did this energy come from? Is it new energy? And where has the rest of it gone? Could the earthquake have been caused or influenced in severity by the gravitational pull of the full moon?

    Re: the moon, no. Not at all. Most earthquakes are caused by the plates of the earth's crust sliding past each other, getting caught, and then releasing and shifting (a little simplistic, but essentially correct). Energy builds up over a very, very long time. andvery long distances, which is why you can get so much releasing at once. It's not new energy so much as old energy which has been waiting around (though energy is constantly being stored as well as released in earthquakes.)

    The energy ultimately comes from the fact that the Earth's core is very hot, creating the molten-ish mantle, upon which the plates float (sort of). One day it'll all be gone; places like Mars and Venus no longer have or never did have tectonic activity because their cores weren't big or hot enough to sustain it. But that won't be for a long, long time.

    I know earthquakes can influence animal behaviour, but I've also read on some blogs that some autistic people also sensed something around the time of the earthquake. What could be the explanation for this?

    If it's true, and not people rearranging their memories to accommodate the quake? Low-frequency noises, most likely. Autistic people might be more likely to hear them before the main shaking hits.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Yep; the Elder died trying to evacuate people by boat. There is, not incidentally, another great BBC docudrama about this.

    Simulposted! But that docudrama was very liberal with the historical record and completely botches the scene of Pliny's death. Also, it's not at all clear that his was a rescue mission. A relative had sent for him but every other indication is that he was going there primarily to witness the event first hand.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner,

    @Hilary

    My understanding about where the energy comes from is this:

    The earth's continents are floating, and move around on currents generated by heat rising from within the earth.

    If you've ever made jam, you may have seen the "scum" moving around as the jam underneath bubbles. I think of the continents as doing this: moving at about the same speed your fingernail grows.

    The continents will eventually stop moving when the earth's heat is used up, I guess.

    Since Nov 2006 • 212 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Tsunami are also earthquake-triggered: there are deep trenches offshore from where I live that have triggered past tsunami by slumping. As far as my palaeotsunami mates have so far found, the slumping has always been triggered by crustal plate movement (as the crow flies, the major S.I fault-line is just 20k away...)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Simulposted! But that docudrama was very liberal with the historical record and completely botches the scene of Pliny's death. Also, it's not at all clear that his was a rescue mission. A relative had sent for him but every other indication is that he was going there primarily to witness the event first hand.

    Fair enough; I didn't know they'd fudged that bit. I did know they'd played a little fast and loose with the characters (using skeletons from Herculaneum as inspiration, etc.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Lucy, Marcus: thanks. I like the jam image - can relate to that. Theoretically, as the technology develops, it should be easier to predict exactly when and where the tension will be released?

    I need to go back to the Awesome Forces exhibition at Te Papa as I'm sure it is all explained there.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • craigm,

    @Hilary

    The energy is derived as follows. In Chile the Nazca plate is moving eastward under the Sth American plate at the rate of about 70mm per year. This is along a plate interface of several 1000km's. Now not all of this interface moves freely, parts of it are "stuck" and dont move, yet they are still being pushed together at a rate of 70mm per year. Over hundreds of years this 70mm of movement is accumlated as a strain deficit in the plate boundary . 100 years = 7m of accumlated (yet not realised) movement. Eventually the accumlated strain builds up to be greater than the friction stopping the plates from moving freely and then the whole lot lets go causing massive earthquakes. In NZ we have a similar situation off the east coast of the Nth Island where the Australian and Pacific Plates meet. There are zones along the plate boundary between Gisborne and Wellington that are locked and arent moving at the rate they should be moving compared to the rest of the interface. We can tell all of this through very precise continous GPS measurements which show which parts of the country are moving at what rates. What we cant tell however is how much strain the locked interfaces are able to accomodate before they release. We can however map out roughly which parts of the plate boundary are more strained than other and therefore more likely to fail.

    There are also things called "slow earthquakes" in which the accumulated strain is released over the period of several days or weeks (as opposed to seconds in a earthquake). Several of these have happened off the East Cape in last 10 years since we have had the technology to measure them. In the slow earthquakes you might get 20-30mm of movement occuring slowly over several days (normally it would take a year or 2 for this amount of movement), which because it is so slow doesnt cause an actual earthquake. This amount of movement equates to something like a magnitude 6 earthquake. So slow earthwquakes do a lot for preventing bigger earthquakes. http://www.gns.cri.nz/news/release/gisborne.html

    The moon has very little effect, as even though it is large it is very far away so its gravitational effect is very small.

    disclaimer: i work for GNS in GeoNet... :-)

    Taupo • Since Nov 2007 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    My tsunami-specialist friends (both with doctorates in geology) say earthquake prediction is on a par with weather-forecasting Hilary.
    The tech gets better but the variables are __huge__and reliability of when/where/how great forecasts are a distant dream.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

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