On Alpine fault, glaciers and us

In March this year GNS Science gave a lecture in Christchurch where they covered various aspects of the expected Alpine Fault earthquake and the damage / consequences it could have.

The presentation is available on Youtube in almost its full length and it was... a memorable experience to watch it all. For one, there was not only talk about the morphology of the Alpine Fault itself, but also quite a comprehensive overview of the necessary civil defense and emergency responses that would (likely need to) follow.

Like... I knew that this earthquake has potential to be big, but when they showed the potential damage if the fault did move 7 metres horizontally and 2 metres vertically in one go - and likely across about 300 kilometres - me and The Man looked and each other and kind of had that... weird awkward smile when we weren't sure whether to laugh or go wide-eyed.

(Also, it was about that time that The Man said, "How about we move to Dunedin, eh?")

It also helped a lot that the last speaker, Tom Robinson, who gave an overview of the potential infrastructure damage after a >8 magnitude earthquake, has a jolly sense of humor. Me and The Man laughed out loud several times and it's quite a thing to do if you consider that the presentation was about landslides and power outages and roadworks and missing bridges and... yeah.

Have a look, if you wish. It's almost an hour long, but I have watched it whilst doing dishes and chopping veggies and amidst life in general, and it's well worth a look. Especially from about 38:50 onwards when Tom Robinson comes onscreen.


An ex-workmate from Fox Glacier said recently that the glacier has receded so much over the 5 years that I've been away that they've actually lost walking access onto the ice.

Previously it used to be that people wanting to see Fox glacier through the local guiding company had the option of either:
1) walking to the terminus (so only on gravel),
2) walking up onto a mountainside and getting onto ice from there, or
3) taking a helicopter up, very fancy!

Now the option 2 is gone. The ice has gone down so low that what used to be a reasonably steep access track from a mountainside is now a canyon of gravel and rocks, and definitely no walking.

Which is kind of... sad and "well yeah" at the same time. Time goes on, glaciers move, circumstances change - but it's a pity that people no longer get an affordable option of getting onto the ice. Now if they want ice, they need a helicopter.

The way it used to be before: see the groups of people in comparison to the glacier?

Let's zoom out a bit, shall we. 

Let's zoom out a bit more.

That's what I mean.


And how are we doing, I hear you ask?

We're okay. Growing :)

1 comment:

  1. Me käisime helikopteriga seal, kuna lapsed olid ka, neile oli üleval lumes käik kesk suve vaat et suuremgi elamus.