I rose early because I was taking a morning’s leave to do a job on my horse. I turned the television on while I was having a cuppa to find out whether Colonel Gaddafi had gone yet, and saw the scenes of devastation in Christchurch.
This caused a rapid re-think of my day. I quickly sought out some technical information about the quake and composed a few quotable sentences for the Science Media Centre in London, which does such an admirable job putting journalists and scientists together.
Original plan: David Rothery on horseback
Half way round my route I had a call on my mobile from Lawrence McGinty, ITN’s science editor, asking for an interview. I explained my situation, and he suggested sending a camera to record comments from me at my home about lunchtime, as the footage of me would not needed until the 6:30 and 10:00 pm news programmes.
This was duly accomplished.
Revised plan: David appears on ITV News
At magnitude 6.3 on the Richter scale, the Christchurch earthquake was considerably less powerful than the magnitude 7.0 quake that struck nearby on 4 September 2010, but three factors conspired to make its effects worse.
The initial rupture was at a shallow depth; it happened much closer to the city; and it happened during the daytime when people were on the streets or in office blocks.
New Zealand has (and enforces) stringent codes on building standards with resistance to earthquakes in mind. Although tragically some buildings collapsed, the death-toll would have been far higher had a similar quake struck a city of comparable size in almost any other country in the world.
TJs Kazbah North New Brighton, Christchurch near collapse following 6.3 quake on Feb 22