I was enjoying a very happy lunch with a friend of ours today when two pesky earthquakes came along and spoilt it. These are the first earthquakes I’ve felt since leaving Christchurch. They were little – Mag. 3.1 followed by a Mag. 3.9. I felt both. No-one else in our house felt the first and immediately after it I asked, “Did you feel that?”, and got blank stares so just assumed I was being paranoid. We all felt the second one.

When they start,  you have a mental debate with yourself: is this going to be big? should I try to grab the kids or just drop and cover where I am? But before you come to any decision the whole thing is over and you realise it was only small. But in that first instant, before you know how big it’s going to be, the adrenaline kicks in sending heart rate and blood pressure soaring. It takes about an hour afterwards for everything to return to normal. How crap is that? People who are what I call earthquake virgins, and have never felt a big earthquake or any earthquake at all, don’t have this adrenaline response.

Imagine you’re someone who is terrified of snakes and the house you live in sits above a giant nest of them. Sometimes they slither into your house. You have no idea how they get in or when they will. But they come when you least expect it. That’s what it’s like for me. Only I’m terrified of earthquakes but would be quite happy to have a nest of snakes beneath the house, especially if they ate the family of rats we found living there recently.


  1. I looked on and am amazed at all the earthquakes recorded around the Auckland and Northland region. Sorry you are in such a state. Snakes would be easier. At least someone could remove them. Not so easy with earthquakes.

  2. I thought of you Rachel the moment I heard – made Alice check where and how much and the depth and the magnitude and the …… Big thoughts sent your way.

    1. I take it you saw it was located right under Motutapu island – a volcano! Appparently, though, this is not related to the volcano at all. Just another earthquake.

      1. Actually, the depth of the earthquake tells us it’s not related to the volcano. The volcanoligists say anything volcano-related will start at the depth of the magma (80-100km) and gradually move closer to the surface with each shake.

  3. You have my complete sympathy on this one. I have never really felt an earthquake so not sure what the experience would be like. But reading your blog I do get the idea!

  4. Sorry to hear that, Rach. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…..
    Trust you to notice it though. I’ve blissfully slept through two now. One in L.A. and last year a 5.1 in Tokyo. It’s just the others in the house always wake me and drag me off to stand in a doorway.
    Did Freud notice?
    My mother once experienced one in Brisbane. Is anyone really safe out there?

    1. I’ve felt so many thousands of earthquakes now that I’m tuned into their dance and song and recognize it instantly. Before the big Christchurch quake, there had been a few little ones in the area and they passed me by completely unnoticed.

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