This afternoon at 1pm, Christchurch was struck by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake. I was sitting at my desk when it hit. It only really takes a second to ascertain the course of action you need to take. Most of the time I sit stoically at my desk and ride it out, albeit with incredibly heightened senses and tension throughout my whole body. This afternoon though, I just grabbed the desk and pulled myself under it. I landed on my elbows, which stung a bit, pulled out my Tab and let twitter know I was still alive, as things crashed off the desk around me. It's impossible to describe the movement. It's unlike anything else. The earth is moving violently, but it takes everything with it, so you somehow get a sense of staying where you are, while also being tossed around in a clothes dryer.
A 5.7 to 5.9, I guessed, with it bring the strongest I had felt at work for sure. 10 minutes later the scientists triangulated it out, 11km southwest of us, a 5.5m. And so proceeded checking in with family, friends, checking breakages around work. Dad went home to sort out the alarm going off, reports came in of one or two buildings coming down, but no deaths. Adrenalin was still racing through me, heart pounding.
At 2.40pm we were hit with a 6.0 magnitude quake. Under my desk again, this one felt more like the clothes dryer was on the back of a pickup truck driving along a rocky riverbed. I was really concerned that the concrete slabs our building is made of would just fall to pieces. Once the shaking stopped, we once again assessed damage, compared notes, got what we needed and decided to close for the day. Power had also gone off by that stage. Like February, the culdesac began to fill with muddy brown water, as the process of liquefaction began again. The roads were in a lot better shape than February, but there were still many sections too flooded to traverse, or too uncertain where huge sinkholes could be in the rising water.
It took us a bit more than an hour to get home I guess. Many many detours later, I get to check through my own belongings at home. My 42" tv had fallen forward off it's trolley and was resting upside down, held in place by the cords in the back of the unit. It has a small scratch or two, it's probably not worth the hassle of replacing it on insurance though. A few ornaments chipped and my games all over the place.. but in the grand scheme of things, I'm once again very lucky.
We got our power back on around 7pm I guess, which means we didn't have to brave a 1°Cnight without heating, and I could go and play some xbox and forget about the day.
Thankyou to all those who have shared thought, word and sympathy today, it really does mean a lot to know that you care.
The sandman comes...
Hopefully he keeps the quakes away.