Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday 07.09.10. Day 4 after Christchurch Quake. Christchurch Wetlands

Tuesday 07.09.10. State of Emergency. Day 4 after Christchurch Quake: 2 Christchurch wetlands.

Media had shown liquefaction damage at Bexley Wetland & I wanted to see it for myself during the state of emergency.

In 2009 when I did Avon River & Heathcote River walks I thought people were stupid buying property near rivers, due to potential flood damage. New houses at Bexley Wetland looked extremely dodgy to me, as some were built right next to Bexley Wetland, lovely views across Avon Estuary, but potentially lethal.

A small stop bank was graded before some houses as a barrier to Bexley Wetland, but Avon River water was between those houses & the stop bank, which looked quite useless.

In 1994 when I'd first visited NZ, I heard about quake liquefaction when visiting Auckland museum. After emigrating in 1995, I discussed liquefaction with my viticulture lecturer at Lincoln University in 1996, when he talked about Canterbury soil types needed for grape growing. As an immigrant I couldn't believe Christchurch house buyers were unaware of liquefaction dangers.

More disturbing were surveyors, engineers, planners, councillors, architects, builders, developers & real estate agents whose business it was to know about liquefaction & allowed building & selling of expensive houses at Bexley Wetland on a thick layer of silt.

I'd seen that thick silt layer when I'd dug holes in my Halswell garden across town. Below that thick layer of ancient silt was ancient alluvial shingle. People who allowed building & selling of houses at Bexley Wetland were criminally negligent, as liquefaction was a well known quake hazard.

When I was a Sunday School kid we sang: "The wise man built his house upon the rock... The foolish man built his house upon the sand... And the rains came tumbling down..." So sand / silt, water & quakes were a bad combination for buildings.

I drove Luke to his building site work at Willowbank Reserve, but before looking at Bexley Wetland, I drove to Travis Wetland & parked on Frosts Road to look at quake damage.

Images, quake damaged Styx Mill Rd & Frosts Rd:


07.09.10. Quake toppled farmhouse chimney, Styx Mill Rd


07.09.10. Close up of quake toppled farmhouse chimney, Styx Mill Rd


07.09.10. Quake cracked Frosts Rd, Travis Wetland


07.09.10. Quake cracked footpath, Frosts Rd, Travis Wetland


07.09.10. Quake buckled wooden lining of footpath, Frosts Rd, Travis Wetland


07.09.10. Overlap of footpath tar seal caused by quake, Frosts Rd, Travis Wetland


07.09.10. Quake buckled footpath, Frosts Rd, Travis Wetland

Images, quake damaged Mairehau Rd:


07.09.10. Quake cracked pavement & driveway, Mairehau Rd. Liquefaction silt in gutter. Dried silt a grey colour


07.09.10. Power poles leaning at different angles, caused by quake, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake cracked pavement, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake cracked pavement by gate, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Liquefaction damaged driveway & pavement, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake cracked driveway by gate, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake shoved pavement tar seal against a gate, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake cracked pavement, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake cracked pavement by a doctor's surgery, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake cracked pavement by a doctor's surgery, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake damaged concrete drain, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Liquefaction damaged curb & road, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake cracked pavement, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake damaged curb, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake damaged curb, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Liquefaction silt & quake crack, Travis Wetland, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Liquefaction silt & crack, Travis Wetland, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Power poles leaning due to quake, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake buckled car park, Travis Wetland, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake cracked car park, Travis Wetland, Mairehau Rd


07.09.10. Quake damaged roadside, Mairehau Rd, Travis Wetland


07.09.10. Quake damaged roadside & power pole, Mairehau Rd, Travis Wetland


07.09.10. Quake damaged curb, Mairehau Rd, Travis Wetland


07.09.10. Quake damaged roadside, Mairehau Rd, Travis Wetland


07.09.10. Quake damaged roadside & curb, Mairehau Rd, Travis Wetland

As roads to Bexley Wetland were road blocked, I drove along a side road off Pages Rd & walked across Bexley Park to Bexley Road. Along the tar sealed footpath I crossed many quake cracks, where tar seal was flipped & flung by the quake all over the path.

Images, quake damaged Seabreeze Cl & Bexley Wetland:


07.09.10. Quake cracked footpath, Bexley Park. The quake flipped & flung tar seal

Two workmen walked along the path in Bexley Park & placed broken tar seal aside, in readiness for path repairs, so we were the last three to see quake damage to the path as it really was.

I felt creepy walking freshly quaked ground, like the torn ground was awaiting more destruction by more aftershocks.


07.09.10. Portaloos, Seabreeze Cl, due to liquefaction damage of sewage pipes


07.09.10. Liquefaction devastated Seabreeze Cl, after silt was graded away. People relocating due to quake damaged housing


07.09.10. Liquefaction silt already graded away from a Seabreeze Cl driveway, Bexley Wetland


07.09.10. People relocating from liquefaction damaged Seabreeze Cl, Bexley Wetland


07.09.10. Depth of liquefaction silt in Seabreeze Cl driveway, Bexley Wetland


07.09.10. People relocating from liquefaction damaged Seabreeze Cl, Bexley Wetland. Silt in driveway & garage


07.09.10. Man measuring a quake crack at the end of Seabreeze Cl, Bexley Wetland. (Pic laterally inverted)


07.09.10. End of quake cracked Seabreeze Cl, Bexley Wetland


07.09.10. Quake damaged steps going up from the public footpath to a garden, Bexley Wetland. (Pic laterally inverted)


07.09.10. Quake buckled wooden lining to footpath in front of housing, Bexley Wetland


07.09.10. Quake damaged footpath in front of housing, Bexley Wetland. Liquefaction silt boils on path


07.09.10. Quake cracked footpath in front of housing, Bexley Wetland. Liquefaction silt boil on path


07.09.10. Quake cracked footpath in front of houses, Bexley Wetland


07.09.10. Quake damaged public footpath between houses, showing thick silt layer on which housing was built, Bexley Wetland

Images, quake damaged Kokopu Ln & Wetlands Gr:


07.09.10. Quaked cracked Kokopu Ln, after liquefaction silt was graded away


07.09.10. Neighbours talk by a liquefaction silt pile, Wetlands Gr


07.09.10. Bexley roadside portaloos, as sewage pipes were quake damaged, Wetlands Gr

I'd walked some distance through Bexley Park & along road blocked Bexley Road, but didn't stay long at Seabreeze Close, as I felt a heavy sadness, not only in myself, but from all the people leaving their damaged properties. They still looked dazed & in shock four days after the quake.

I felt I was an intruder, so slipped past quickly, soon angry that those in authority had allowed such a catastrophe to happen.

I didn't take as many coolpix as I would've liked at Bexley, as power surges after the quake had fried my battery recharger & I needed to buy a new one. Despite spares, frustratingly my coolpix camera batteries ran out while I was at Bexley & I had limited conventional film for my 30 year old Minolta manual camera, hence different quality in pic development.


07.09.10. Filthy, stinky feet after an afternoon's sludging through Bexley Wetland housing sewage, caused by quake breakage of sewage pipes

Bexley was trashed by 22.02.11 & 13.06.11 quakes. I would return to Bexley after those quakes.

FACEBOOK.

Lynelle (RSA): Hi Mark & Leah. I hope that you and your family are fine. I heard that there was a quake in NZ but only on Sunday did I hear it is where you live. How is Leah's school? I really hope that you will be fine. September 7 at 5.59 am.

Mark: Thanks Lynelle. We're OK in Chch, shocking, but we survived unscathed. Electricity & water immediately cut off, restored a few hours later, kitchen cupboard doors popped open, stuff on the floor, like spaghetti, books & files flung off shelves, ironing board & big mirror on floor, no breakages whatsoever, some squiff pictures on walls. One small crack in front door roof panel. Of 1 000s of garage items only a ripening pumpkin & tennis ball were flung from a windowsill, ended up under our Honda car.

Others not so lucky, much damage in the CBD, some Christchurch riverside suburbs bad & riverside Kaiapoi town bad. Darfield district near epicentre village Kirwee, few kms outside Chch, bad, much damage.

Better live in single storey wooden houses in seismic zones, forget about brick houses & chimneys, as quakes loosen mortar & shake brick structures to bits. I walked through Christchurch Botanic Gardens yesterday, 3 days after Chch quake, not a downed tree in sight, some are massive like redwoods, oaks, pines, cedars, gums. Wood is flexible, bricks, concrete, mortar not. Any structure above single storey bldgs dodgy, as quake shakes are vertically amplified. Many brick chimneys, brick upper walls & brick parapets & gables crashed down. I've seen 3 crushed cars so far, all parked by brick bldg walls.

Kids are off school till Wednesday as school bldgs must be safety checked. Leah is at a staff meeting today Tuesday at school, 4 days after Chch quake. I drove past Leah's Jean Seabrook Memorial School yesterday, looked OK from outside, a modern wooden & Gib board, double storey bldg, constructed a few years ago. September 7 at 10.41 am.

Mark: 2nd night after Christchurch Quake, Christchurch Aftershocks, Richter Scale (NZ Breakfast TV): 11.24 pm - 5.2; 11.38 pm - 4.0; 11.40 pm - 5.4; 12.21 am - 4.7; 03.24 am - 5.4. Leah is good at guesstimating Richter Scale during aftershocks. She shook me awake in bed this morning. [Like September 4 quake, 7.1, she bashed me awake]. September 7 at 8.24 am.

Alan (USA): Wow. They just don't seem to stop coming do they? September 7 at 8.50 am.

Sheila (RSA): That is so hectic. Be safe. September 7 at 8.58 am.

Mark: Thanks Alan & Sheila. News that aftershocks (mini quakes) could go on for weeks, makes me wonder whether experts are expert at all? Getting blase about aftershocks after 3 days of them, so far... I feel aftershocks when still, but don't feel aftershocks when walking or driving. Leah feels them all. Leah: "Did you feel that?" Me: "No." She's right every time. Maybe my thick skin? Or earthquake wobbles are similar frequencies to my vertigo wobbles? September 7 at 9.58 am.

Alan: Maybe a bit of both. Sept 7 at 10.04 am.

Jenny (NZ): Hi to you all... it seems to be going on for ages. Hopefully it will settle down and then everyone can start rebuilding their lives. Sept 7 at 6.31 pm.

Mark: @ Jenny. Reconstructions / repairs going quickly in places but hampered by aftershocks. September 8 at 12.48 am.

Mark: I saw much liquefaction damage by Christchurch earthquake & aftershocks around Travis Wetland, Bexley by Avon Estuary & Avonside by Avon River. Seabreeze Close, Bexley: great sorrow while people left, household goods trucked, gardens deeply silted, new homes destroyed, Portaloos & excavators waiting. Another aftershock while I write. September 8 at 12.42 am.

Mark: Councillors, engineers, planners, architects & Home Enterprise directors who allowed 150 houses to be built by Bexley Swamp, Avon Estuary, over recent years, at Pacific Park subdivision must be gaoled for criminal negligence. Liquefaction quake hazard is well known & liquefaction at older Avonside & New Brighton suburbs & newer swamp & riverside suburbs pertains ~ all that post quake water & silt. September 9 at 11.10 am.

Grant (Aus): Hey Mark, hindsight is great, however you are talking about prime land next to the "Poo ponds!" September 9 at 10.48 pm.

Mark: I heard about liquefaction soon after arrival in Chch 15 years ago. In the poo alright, I came back stinking after wandering Bexley for hours. September 11 at 8.22 am.

[Quakes brought out the best & worst in people. Some Facebook trolls used quakes as excuses for personal attacks. Hindsight, so what? All literature, history, science, teaching & lecturing was hindsight. Gotta ask why that engineer troll left Chch & was living in Brisbane?]

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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