As of this writing, Americans are unable to visit New Zealand due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, so consider this story as a way to plan future travel.
One of New Zealand’s South Island only major cities, Christchurch is often a starting point road trip due to its location – heading south Lake Tekapo and Queenstown, north to Kaikoura and Nelson or west to Arthur’s Pass and West Coast National Parks – but that doesn’t mean it’s not a destination in itself. Whether you’re surviving for a few days or just passing through as part of a bigger trip, here are four of my favorite things to do in this exciting South Island city.
Learn About Earthquake History in the Area
On September 4, 2010 and February 22, 2011, the Canterbury region experienced a series of devastating 7.1 and 6.3 earthquakes that changed the region forever – you can still see strong examples of the damage they caused to Christchurch Cathedral, pictured above. Learn all about earthquakes and how residents rise to the challenge of rebuilding in Quake City, then reflect on the lives of the 185 people who died in Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial and heartbreaking 185 Empty White Chairs art installations on Jalan Cashel and Madras.
Visit The Art And History Museum For Free
Drop by Canterbury Museum for exquisite exhibits about New Zealand’s first Polynesian settlers, traditional Māori culture, dinosaur fossils, ancient birds, Asian art, early European settlers, and a stunning replica of a walk from the nineteenth-century Christchurch road. There’s also a great exhibit about the Antarctic expedition that took place in the 1900’s, as well as a hands-on section called Discovery where kids can dig up fossils and learn about insects. Nearby, Center for Contemporary Art (CoCA) Toi Moroki, founded in 1880, showcases the works of some of New Zealand’s best contemporary artists, with exhibitions changing every 10-12 weeks.
Explore the Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Just outside the Canterbury Museum and stretching 51 acres (21 hectares) into Hagley Park, Christchurch Botanical Gardens is a great place for a picnic on a sunny day. Home to several themed parks and conservatories, a World Peace Bell, and a beautiful Visitor Center, there’s nothing short of seeing here, although you’ll also want to take some time to explore the grounds. Visit New Zealand Gardens to see some of the country’s most beloved plants, or for a real treat, see what grows in the Central Rose Garden or Azalea and Magnolia Gardens, among others.
An earthquake that occurs slowly and quietly deep beneath the North Island can be the key to predicting future earthquakes and tsunamis generated by our biggest fault.
A million dollar, three-year project will increase scientists’ understanding of Earthquakes “slow” along the Hikurangi Subduction Zone.
Scientists believe the subduction zone, which runs along the east coast of the North Island, could produce “megathrust” earthquakes larger than the scale of 8, such as the one that created the tsunamis that devastated Indonesia in 2004 and Japan in 2011.
The worst case scenario of a major Hikurangi event could include thousands of deaths and injuries, and billions of dollars worth of property losses.
But slow-slip earthquakes – where plate boundary faults release slowly buried tension over days to months instead of seconds in a typical earthquake – can help us better gauge threats.
Their discovery 20 years ago has revolutionized seismology and our understanding of fault mechanics.
Even though it happens off the east coast every few years, no one feels it when it happens – and the driving force remains unclear.
The new project, led by GNS Science, is designed to detect subtle physical changes in a fault before a slow-slip earthquake occurs, to uncover the mechanisms that regulate its timing.
“It will clarify if there is an observable physical change in the fault that could allow the development of a more accurate estimate of when the fault might fail, either in a slow earthquake or, possibly, a fast earthquake,” said project leader Dr Laura Wallace.
Tantalizing evidence has emerged in recent years that increased water pressure near the fault exerts great control over New Zealand’s slow-slip earthquakes.
GNS seismologist Dr Emily Warren-Smith said if this build-up affects slip times, then monitoring water accumulation in the fault could allow better forecasts for slow and possibly fast earthquakes in the future.
But it is possible that the change in fluid pressure within the fault may be a symptom of a slow earthquake rather than a direct cause, said Wallace.
Alternatively, there may be other processes such as a steady increase in stress from tectonic plate motion that controls the tempo of a slow slip earthquake.
The project aims to resolve this dichotomy by installing large-scale submarine and land monitoring instruments in the southern Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa.
It will monitor changes before, during and after the regularly expected recurring slow slip events offshore in this region in the next two years.
Wallace said the project would establish new ground in seabed geodesy and help put New Zealand at the forefront of global efforts to monitor offshore faults that can produce large earthquakes and tsunamis.
The team departed this weekend aboard the Niwa research vessel Tangaroa to carry out the first set of seabed sensor deployments.
“This project will generate new evidence-based information that will aid significantly in planning and preparedness and make New Zealand safer and more capable of recovering from a major earthquake.”
A separate voyage to the Hikurangi subduction zone – where the Pacific Plate is plunging downward, or “plunging” below the North Island’s east coast – has just finished.
US scientists recently dropped their own specialized equipment onto the ocean floor to visualize subsurface structures, and investigated how fluid is distributed within the sediments.
Program leader Dr Jess Hillman, from GNS Science, said this will allow scientists to better understand how fluid movement is related to activity in our largest offshore faults and the generation of gases beneath the ocean floor.
Shipping specialist Dr Peter Kannberg, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the US, said earthquakes, the stability of the seabed slopes and the release of seabed gases were all regulated in part by the presence of fluids.
“Our instrumentation can detect where this fluid is on Earth, enabling us to better understand the role of fluids in regulating these natural hazards.”
The new three-year project is supported by a $ 960,000 grant from the Marsden Fund.
KARACHI – Pakistan’s National Seismic Monitoring Center on Monday reported an earthquake measuring 3.6 in Karachi.
A moderate-intensity earthquake measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale rocked the port city on Monday morning at 6:17 a.m., according to the seismic monitoring center.
The epicenter was 100 kilometers southeast of Karachi at a depth of 10 kilometers, the seismic monitoring center said.
An earthquake of moderate intensity in October rocked Mingora and surrounding areas in the Swat district. The intensity of the earthquake was recorded at a scale of 4.7 on the Richter scale.
The earthquake quake was felt throughout the city of Mingora and surrounding areas at 6:14 a.m.
The depth of the earthquake reached 110 kilometers with the epicenter in the mountains on the border of Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
The devastating earthquake in Kashmir on October 8, 2005, which was centered near the city of Muzaffarabad, has claimed thousands of lives in addition to causing major damage to infrastructure especially in Azad Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday offered condolences to Turkey after the deadly earthquake struck its Aegean coast.
“My condolences to President Erdogan and the Turkish people for the loss of precious lives in the Izmir earthquake,” Khan said in a tweet.
Twenty-six people were killed and more than 830 injured when a 6.6-magnitude earthquake rocked the province of Izmir on Friday.
Khan said his country stands with the Turks at these times of need.
“We can never forget how Turkey stood with us when the great earthquake hit Pakistan and AJK [Azad Jammu and Kashmir] in 2005, “he continued. The earthquake in Pakistan left 80,000 people dead.
President Arif Alvi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi also expressed their condolences.
Alvi said in a tweet: “It is with great sadness that we receive the news of the earthquake that hit Izmir. Your Excellency and brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan, please extend sincere condolences from the Pakistani people to the families of the victims.”
Qureshi called his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, to offer his “deepest” sympathies, and condolences for the loss of life and destruction caused by the earthquake.
“Pakistan stands ready to assist Turkey with urgent assistance and assistance in times of need,” tweeted Qureshi.