Quake a ‘good wake up call’
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 6:05p.m.
By Emma Jolliff
Last night's earthquake centred in the Taranaki Bight was felt from Kaitaia to Invercargill, although there was no damage of any consequence reported.
But one person captured the rumbling sound that it made - a Wellington church organist.
Organist Dianne Halliday was making a recording at St Peter's Church in Wellington when the quake struck.
“The further I played the more of a problem it became because the whole building started to move and the organ case around me began to move – I thought, “I’m stopping now and I’m getting out of here’,” says Ms Halliday.
The magnitude 7 quake was centred 65 kilometres off Opunake in the Taranaki Bight, 230 kilometres deep.
According to the more than 5,000 reports filed by the public on the GNS website it was felt from Kaitaia to Invercargill.
“Certainly for that area we haven’t had something in the sevens since 1893 I think, so that’s 120 years,” says seismologist Lara Bland.
Two-hundred and thirty kilometres below the earth's surface is a layer known as the upper mantle, and GNS says the quake occurred at that level on the Pacific plate, as it was driven beneath the Australian plate.
“The energy travels much more efficiently through that hard material of the subducting plate and comes up to the surface so you get this widespread well felt earthquake,” says Ms Bland.
While there was little damage reported, it sent people in Opunake running for doorways.
“The kids were a wee bit wound up, running around the house and trying to calm everyone down – we’re not really used to that sort of thing around here,” says Simon Foley.
“It was definitely a good wake up call, [it] made everyone sit up and think about what was going on,” says Constable Mark Jorgense.
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