Monday, July 22, 2013

Swarms at the Beehive

Ah, people died in China's earthquake today, but they didn't make the TV news: the swarm of quakes in Cook Strait that have rattled Wellington, especially the 6.5 last night, are not unnaturally bigger news here. If we could be sure that would be it, the capital could get on with picking itself up and everyone could just be thankful that no-one was hurt. But seismic activity, it's a mysterious beast, and who knows if there isn't a bigger one about to hit tomorrow, or tonight, or in five minutes' time? Not the seismologists, that's for sure. You do kind of wonder about their usefulness, media-wise.
Christchurch was a shock to everyone, especially the seismologists; but Wellington's like Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and Lisbon, and Santiago: sitting plumb square on a fault line, and it's not a matter of if, it's all about when. Even yesterday's shake, though not that close to the city, was enough to return a section of reclaimed land to the sea, crack buildings and break bits off them, and make roads split, sink and tilt. So everyone's horrified, as well as alarmed, and no-one's going to sleep well in the city tonight.
I was last there in April, just en route to catching the Northern Explorer train back to Auckland, but even that quick visit was fun and I would have liked more time there (and, yes, better weather). Though the last thing I am is political, I really liked the buzz that goes with being the capital, that permeates even the weather forecast in the newspaper. They have other things on their minds right now, though.

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