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Earthquake News


Take care around the equinox..


"Sooner or later they are going to stop, but that's going to be years away . It would be unrealistic for that to just stop." (- GNS, o n 16 July 2011

 “The chance of a major earthquake in Canterburyin the next year has dropped.” (- GNS, on 19 August 2011)


 So which is true? Not stopping for years or not lasting till next year?  There is uncertainty from the country’s top geologists. We might therefore question plunging headlong into rebuilding. Confusion and complacency is a danger, because another large event could affect nerves and confidence which could further affect the economy. Confidence and certainty are not expressed in bricks and mortar. There is no doubt that numbers of events have died down since 30 April, as predicted pre-April on this website, but the odd big one is still expected. This is normal for the region.  Y et perhaps Cantabrians are being still denied vital information to plan ahead in terms of earthquake expectancy. The structural strain on the population's psyche was the main calamity. Billions of dollars for a rebuild will not raise spirits or feed souls. There is still need for information. A premature rebuld of things like parks and trains is like buying a sick person new clothes instead of medication, and expecting that to bring about cure.


Before flash new public buildings we need restoration of confidence. Compensation packages need bolstering before concrete columns. A lot is already being done it is true, by many agencies and donations, not to mention caring people all over the country, but there is far more to go and I know rebuilding is still only at an early planning stage, and the big constructions won't take place till all the shaking stops. The region has united magnificently but shining new shopping centres are not much use if newly-poor are unable to shop in them. 


Imagine if another event is to strike in September. If people are next time around more prepared when the next big one arrives this will be the money best spent.  The media were sensation-mad in the February aftermath, repeating the worst of scenes every night on TV and print all in order to boost ratings and sell newspapers. It was a spectacle without moral compass and devoid of personal integrity of high-profile media figures. They were not reined-in but encouraged by publicity-hungry politicians with stunts like the silly Skeptics Lunch on 20 March, at which they declared no earthquakes would come that day. At the same time (1pm) Twizel was experiencing three above-4 mags in quick succession. Did the Lunchers see the egg on each other’s faces? 


Earthquakes have recently been occurring more in the North island.Of above 4-mags for Christchurch, there were 9 in Jan, 77 in Feb, 23 in March, 10 in Apr, 10 in May, 42 in June, 7 in July and so far 5 in August. Over the past 8 months, for Christchurch, if they were evenly distributed there would have been 23 earthquake events per month. February saw three times this and Feb+March, the two months of the equinoctial period, accounted for 54% of the total. This also adds weight to the chance of a potent September for Christchurch, being the next equinox period (remember what happened last September?). Due to what I think is the southward drift of lunar perigees, earthquake events have moved from Christchurch since 30 April and 5-10% of all recorded seismic events in NZ have gone elsewhere.  


Comparing the two 4-month periods from Jan - April with April- August shows a reduction by half of all earthquake events for NZ, meaning that seismicity has been quietening down for the whole country. For this year, since 1 Jan, 73% of all Christchurch earthquakes occurred prior to 30 April, and 27% since then. If we take out Christchurch earthquakes from national figures, then from Jan-Apr, 63% occurred in non-Christchurch districts. For the May-Aug period this figure rises to 68%. Therefore at least 5-10% more earthquakes have moved further north since April. The 5-10% less earthquakes in Christchurch has brought relaxation for Christchurch up til August. But it would be folly to ignore the coming equinox.


Upcoming dates for possible increases in seismic action are

28th Aug – 2nd Sept,

14th-17th and (particularly) 23rd-28th Sept  

Oct 12th-13th and 26th-27th.


If anyone needs more detail,

On 28th Aug, there is a Neptune-Earth-Sun alignment, on 29th Aug, the new moon crosses the equator, and 3 days later it is the seventh closest moon for the year. On 14th-17th Sept. we have kingtide+apogee, but the most potent interval should be on 23rd-28th Sept. which begins with equinox, is followed on 25th with a Sun-Earth-Uranus alignment, then on 27th the New moon crosses the equator, and the next day it is the third closest to earth for 2011. It is also a day from a Mercury-Sun-Earth alignment. A lot is therefore happening in this interval.

On Oct 12th-13th. the Full moon is at apogee, bringing a kingtide, concurrent with a Earth-Sun-Saturn alignment.

On Oct 26th-27th the New moon is the second shortest earth-moon distance for the year, bringing high tides, and finally

On 30th -1st sees a Sun-Earth-Jupiter alignment.


It all adds up to a resurgence of earthquake risk, however not on the same regularity of scale pre-April.


Basically we need mostly to be the most cautious around the last week of September, associated with equinox and new moon in powerful perigee rising due east, adding to gravitational pull. It is the same 3-way lunar set-up as for last September's quake. The last week in September is the period immediately following equinox (22nd) and stress will have built up that needs release. Around the end of September the very close new moon (as also happened 4 September) is potent, together with planetary combinations that include the next Mercury-Sun-Earth alignment that also occurred on 22 Feb and 13 June. The likelihood is great for seismic events around the globe. 


 Indeed, it may not happen, and we all hope not, but the main players will be in position. For example we might observe that Dan Carter and Ritchie McCaw are on the field, but that does not guarantee a win. However when they are on the field, the other team would be wise to plan appropriate strategies. To do otherwise would be foolhardy. It is not alarmist to prepare people with information, otherwise all Civil Defence services would be banned. To not make it known to your team that main players stack the field that could be hazardous to your health puts friends and relatives in jeopardy.


I think Cantabrians need an available analysis of past patterns plus astronomical information, so they can make informed choices. City and country leaders need to respect the populace enough to allow this information to be made available. Debate should fill the airwaves. It is not astrology, which some have an aversion to, it is pure science. After all, the planets, Sun and Moon, and the earth and earthquakes, were here a long time before humans arrived to compare birth signs.



Sources referred to



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