Wellington earthquakes

20 Jul

The day started off a little more exciting than planned yesterday as at just after 9 am a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit Central NZ – I was in our seven storey office building in the CBD at the time and thought someone was stamping their feet on our floor at first…and then the building started shaking from side to side. Everyone just kind of looked at each other a bit rabbit in the headlights and held on to our desks. There’s a guy in our team who went through the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010/11 so he’s used as a bit of a marker – if he dives under the desk for cover, we all will! Luckily it wasn’t that bad as we weren’t over the centre of it, but the shaking continued for around 30 seconds. I felt sorry for the block over the road as their building is on rollers because it’s very high, so would have been rocking for much longer.


A second quake happened the same afternoon, this time a 4.4. That was over pretty quickly – I was on the phone at the time and thought someone behind me was moving my chair. A lady who lives in Christchurch was up visiting our Wellington office and she said there have been many earthquakes since the big ones at home, but the one yesterday brought back memories because it was unexpected. Although Wellington is on a fault line, we don’t seem to get ones that can be felt very often (touch wood).

If we do have one that results in us being trapped in our building at work, we have a cabinet on each floor that contains three days’ supply of food and water, medical items, etc and we have a different emergency procedure for earthquake and fire, which is something I never thought I’d have to consider!

I have felt an earthquake back in England but that was a very small one that hit at night and just shook the bed a little. Being in a lurching office building on the fifth floor was somewhat more scary. However, it doesn’t seem that it’s caused much serious damage across the country and is nothing to compare to the Christchurch earthquakes – (the city being pretty much above the epicentre) I recommend watching When A City Falls if you wanted to get a perspective of the devastation caused there.



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